LIVE FROM HUAWEI GLOBAL MBB FORUM 2021, DUBAI: Saleem Alblooshi, CTO at du (pictured), insisted tier-1 operators should not position themselves or be considered as dumb pipe connectivity providers, as he laid out his argument for how the industry should approach going up the value chain.

Alblooshi said the industry’s biggest players had three distinct areas where they provided value for 5G use cases, thus dismissing the idea they only provided connectivity, which should be adopted as a strategy to develop a service model when seeking partnerships.

The first centres on operating as a digital services provider, where du in particular was employing its 5G expertise through an open laboratory, providing services and educating ecosystem partners and developer platforms.

Through this model, du was also able to consult on industry solutions, design and deliver services and develop industry-orientated processes.

Alblooshi highlighted platform service provision as the second area of operator advantage, noting they can use industry cloud and edge computing, inter-cloud connection networks and combine 5G, cloud and its wider network to develop a “one click provisioning platform”.

Thirdly, he argued as a network service provider, du was able to provide traditional high bandwidth services through standalone 5G, in addition to end-to-end network slicing.

Alblooshi added it is time to “put our heads together” and find revenue generators for 5G.

He noted du had reached 90 per cent population coverage with 5G in the UAE, delivering an average speed of 440Mb/s, with 10 per cent of its mobile subscribers now using the network.