10% of UAE mobile users have switched operator - survey

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(Image for illustrative purposes only)

(Image for illustrative purposes only)

A new survey has revealed that approximately one in 10 mobile users in the UAE have swapped operator following the launch of mobile number portability last month.

AMRB, a regional research & consulting firm based in Dubai, announced the figure in a report measuring reaction to MNP which came into effect in UAE on December 30.

The poll of about 500 mobile users in the UAE revealed that 10 percent had already changed their operator while another 23 percent expressed "high likelihood" of doing so in the near future.

Customer Service was a key reason for subscribers from du and Etisalat, with 46 percent and 39 percent of subscribers respectively claiming to be unsatisfied with the current service provider.

The launch of MNP allows mobile users to switch between the country's two operators - Etisalat and du - while keeping the same number. The move by the UAE's telecoms regulator is aimed at increasing competition in the sector.

The survey also showed that 60 percent of mobile users were aware of MNP being introduced, with Asian subscribers most aware.

It said the propensity to shift service provider is higher among expat Arabs with one third expressing high likelihood to shift.

In comparison, about 22 percent of Asian subscribers expressed high likelihood to change service provider using MNP.

The survey claimed that for about 56 percent of existing du subscribers considering change to Etisalat, the driver was the expectation of a better network coverage.

In the case of Etisalat customers, 47 percent of those wanting to shift to du cited better prices and packages for voice calls as the key reason to shift.

Implementation of MNP globally has been driven by three key elements - decrease in market prices, to facilitate market competition and to increase consumer welfare.

More than 70 countries have implemented MNP worldwide, including markets within the region like Egypt, Pakistan and India.

Sukhdev Singh, associate vice president, AMRB, said: "The success or failure of MNP will ultimately depend upon the time taken to change from one telco to the other, as well as the switching cost involved.

"While the UAE telco market is poised for significant churn in the near term, over the longer horizon, introduction of MNP is a positive step that would lead to greater competition between Mobile Service Providers (MSPs), which would ultimately benefit the consumers."

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