The UAE is to host the region's first data hub to cater for international and local players keen to store their data in the Middle East.
The local mobile operator du and the data centre provider Equinix have teamed up to offer a centre in Dubai to enable carriers, content and cloud providers, financial services and enterprise customers to locate their data.
Equinix, a company based in the United States and listed on the Nasdaq exchange, is investing US$40 million (Dh146.9m) for the acquisition, upgrade and future expansion of the Dubai site.
Du says it has invested an "equivalent amount" to be spent over the next five years.
The facility is expected to open in January and will house 650 cabinets.
There are plans to open a similar data hub facility in Abu Dhabi although both companies declined to give a date or the level of investment required for this second site.
"The outcome of this [partnership] is that we will be able to provide [customers] with all kinds of capabilities to colocate data and provide the connectivity to be able to benefit from a free zone approach to connect in and out of the country," said Osman Sultan, the chief executive of du.
Both companies will work together to lease out space to customers to store their infrastructure and data in the facility.
The average Equinix customer has between five to 10 cabinets, with an expected 100 customers projected for the Dubai facility by the end of next year. "Between mobile devices, broadband and fibre networks that are here in these markets, people's expectations about response times and speed is constantly rising," said Eric Schwartz, the president of Equinix Emea.
"There are many technologies to improve performance but one of the fundamental ones is to locate the content as close as possible to the end user and so with this facility … people will see meaningful performance increases.
"Their experiences with companies located here should improve," said Mr Schwartz.
Demand for space has come mostly from international players, according to Mr Schwartz, with most planning to use Dubai as a hub for the wider Middle East region.
"We have a few customers already, our model is to open the facilities and customers subscribe to capacity over a period of time," added Mr Schwartz.
"Our expectation is it will be a year or more for the facility to open up.
"If we have success and see further uptake, then there are opportunities to go to other markets."