Pricing agreement holds up UAE telco sharing plan

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share
Both du and Etisalat already offer fixed-line and broadband services in the UAE, but not in the same districts

Both du and Etisalat already offer fixed-line and broadband services in the UAE, but not in the same districts

Network sharing in the UAE, which will allow customers to choose their preferred telecom operator, is facing delays because telcos have yet to agree on commercial terms for the arrangement, the country's regulator said on Monday.

Former monopoly Etisalat and rival du both offer fixed-line voice, broadband and television services but not in the same districts.

An agreement between the pair to allow open competition by using each other's infrastructure was slated to be completed by the end of 2011 but is now delayed to the third quarter of 2012.

"By April 30, I'm comfortable we will have full technical and operational readiness, but I'm not comfortable we will have commercial readiness by that date," Fintan Healy, executive director for regulatory affairs at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference.

"We don't regulate retail prices per se, we regulate wholesale prices so we're working on a fair wholesale price - the price Etisalat charges du and vice versa."

Healy said the regulator hoped to have the matter resolved in two to three months. The main issue centered on reaching an agreed price for the provision of television services.

"If it's the second quarter it will be right towards the end of the quarter, so we may well be just into the third quarter."

As the former monopoly, Etisalat has the greater fixed line infrastructure, with du's fixed line customers largely restricted to the newer areas of Dubai.

The two operators are finding it hardest to agree a price to allow competition in the provision of television services, Healy said.

An infrastructure sharing deal is likely to ratchet up the commercial pressure on Etisalat, which reported a 3 percent drop in domestic revenue in 2011 along with shrinking margins.

Etisalat, with its broader network, potentially has more to lose from opening up home services to competition, spurring it to revamp its TV platform.

"TV is a sticky product," said Matthew Willsher, Etisalat's chief marketing officer. "Having a really good TV service is competitively important so it's a real focus for us."

Related:
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Saudi Arabia builds start-up culture with state oil money

Saudi Arabia builds start-up culture with state oil money

Gov't has previously has found it hard to promote start-ups in...

How QSTP is incubating innovation

How QSTP is incubating innovation

Courtney Trenwith examines how Qatar’s dedicated research and...

Making Connections: Lou Lou Khazen Baz

Making Connections: Lou Lou Khazen Baz

In the space of just two years Nabbesh has grown from a bold...

2
Most Discussed