Etisalat is the UAE's leading telecommunications operator and one the of 13th largest network operator in the world. Besides establishing several "firsts" over almost four decades of operations, Etisalat has deployed many innovative mobile and fixed technologies such as 3G, 4G, and Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) network. It has helped the country maintain its position as a leading global ICT economy with a total customer base of more than 150 million.

In support of the UAE's goal to create smarter cities by digitizing initiatives, we have brought smarter services into every aspect of our customer offering. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) are few of the contemporary technologies emerging in our telecommunications industry, results in many of the converging drivers like the rise of the new economy, the need for speed and instant gratification, and the growing maturity of underlying technologies.

We have been studying, experimenting, and testing NFV and SDN PoCs' in the past couple of years, and now Etisalat's leadership beginning with our CEO, Mr. Saleh Al Abdooli, understand the importance of taking it to the next level. That's why the three-year corporate programme 'Cloudify the Network' or 'Sahaab' has been officially launched and sponsored by our CTO, Mr. Haitham Abdulrazzak to both transform Etisalat to best leverage these new technologies and to influence these new technologies towards the good of our employees, customers, and shareholders.


Etisalat has collaborated with Intel Builders Program for NFV-SDN adoption. Intel Builders Program is ecosystem of more than 180 renowned partners coming together to accelerate the adoption of SDN and NFV.

Etisalat’s NFV/SDN program covers the following service areas:

Etisalat’s First Live NFVI

Successful implementation of NFV infrastructure at five commercial sites (Abu Dhabi, Ras Al-Khaimah, Fujairah, Dubai#1, and Dubai#2) in Etisalat network which is fully able to cater first virtualized network service (vEPC).

vEPC – First Etisalat Cloudified Service

Introducing virtual EPC functionality to be built on top of the cloud/NFVI and combine 2G/3G, and 4G nodes in one single node to achieve best customer QoS, enhance network design, less number of hops, faster speeds, etc. The vEPC service has been provided by the Affirmed Networks to cover the scope of M2M, Fixed LTE, and VoWiFi.