UAE telco Etisalat is to invest at least US$544.5 million a year in national network infrastructure, including the imminent roll out of a fourth generation (4G) mobile network for the carriage of high quality video according to The National.

Nasser bin Obood, Etisalat's acting chief executive, told the Abu Dhabi newspaper that its 4G mobile network will be launched "very soon", with coverage initially rolled out to the cities of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah.

Mr bin Obood said annual capital expenditure on its UAE networks will be between two and three billion UAE Dirhams, with spending focused predominantly on mobile networks, data cabling and IT systems.

Meanwhile, rival operator Du told The National that it has performed trials on its 4G network, and hopes to launch the service later this year.

"Lifestyles in today's world demand huge volumes of bandwidth as there is a desire to be connected anywhere and anytime," Jorg Erlemeier, head of Nokia Siemens Networks in the Middle East, told The National.

"In the near future, operators need to ensure the best broadband experience, and this can be achieved through investment, primarily in 3G and 4G.

Mr Erlemeier, whose company has previously worked with Etisalat, added that the imminent launch of 4G is "excellent news for mobile customers and the UAE in general."