Etisalat says it will deploy high-speed 5G services "in the coming few years", but warns that those that will benefit from the technology will have to contribute to its development.
UAE newspaper The National reports that the Abu Dhabi-based telecoms provider wants to team up with internet companies set to make money from the network, given the estimated cost it will take to bring 5G services into being.
The publication highlights how mobile generation systems seem to appear at a rate of once a decade. The 1G system started in 1981, followed by 2G in 1991, then the 3G system in 2001. The trend could continue with the 5G system estimated to be rolled out around 2021, according to GSMhistory.com website.
Ahmad Julfar, Etisalat's group chief executive, said at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit that the likes of Google and YouTube will benefit from fast internet services, therefore they should contribute to their construction costs.
"There has to be a revenue-sharing model. 5G deployment will be very expensive," Julfar claimed. "Telecom operators are investing hundreds of millions of dollars every year on capital expenditure. You have somebody else who is arriving on this network for free and making money," he added.
Etisalat ploughed some Dh6 billion into the launch of Long Term Evolution technology, also known as 4G. Telecom operators in the UAE such as du and Etisalat face competition as applications like Skype, Viber and WhatsApp compete with their voice and SMS revenue streams.
As such, given that the telecom operators are doing most of the legwork on 5G, a model that reflects this is crucial, Etisalat claims.
"There has to be a cross-sector collaborative model between media firms, telecom operators and internet firms," Julfar argued.