On day on of this year’s Ultra-Broadband Forum (UBBF) held in Dubai, we caught up with Hasan Alshemeili, Head of Technology Planning at du, Emirates based operator, to discuss how an increase of innovation at du has allowed the firm to become a leading telecoms and digital services player in the region.

du was established in 2007 and has risen to become one of the largest operators in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Last year alone, revenues grew by 9.2% to AED12.75 billion, and net profit grew by 10.8% to AED1.22 billion, which the firm attributed to strong demand for broadband & 5G, and gradual mobile services recovery. The company operates under two brands: du (launched in 2007) and Virgin Mobile the region’s first digital service (which began operations in September 2017).

Alshemeili shares his views on how to build a network structure to successfully support 5G business, and in his opinion, the characteristics that should be included in a transport network: they key to this, is to ensure that capacity demands are met, whilst being cost effective in the network infrastructure. Technologies that du are rolling out allow for a solid network foundation.



“When facing uncertain traffic growth, the key concern is knowing how to meet capacity demands while being cost effective in the network infrastructure. du is rolling out new technologies such as 400G, Multi service OTN to maximize the value of transport network infrastructure. By doing so, we then have a solid network foundation for carrying multi-services now and getting ready for the industrial digital transformation in the near future with optimal TCO.

Additionally, Transport network requires end-to-end intelligence that can automatically allocate network resources and provision new services.”

As more and more enterprises have undergone a digital transformation, it has led to frequent network expansion. Alshemeili adds that as well as wider bandwidth capabilities, it is vital that the complexity of network expansion is reduced, the services time to market is shortened, and green solutions are implemented to reduce power consumption:

“We have deployed OTN technologies to the metro network to build all-optical with one-hop architecture and low latency, accordingly we can offer enterprises better experience. Secondly, we need to reduce the complexity of network expansion and shorten the Time to Market of services to handle the traffic growth with an agile network. Last but not least, we need high integrated & green solutions that can reduce the footprint and the power consumption.”

Finally, Alshemeili lends a word of advice to vendors such as Huawei, from the perspective of an operator:

“Continue investing in network technologies and provide highly integrated and reliable solutions. Integrated IP and optical networks are the future of transport networks, and those who are able to stay ahead of the competition will be our valued partners. Therefore, vendors who support standards and openness will thrive to build an agile and digital network.”

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