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."

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
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...

The politics of big data

The politics of big data

The UAE may be one of the fastest adopters of e-government initiatives...

Gateway to a new era

Gateway to a new era

Could Telr be the answer to start-ups’ prayers? The new three...

Most Discussed
  • 10
    UAE teens among the highest for obesity rates

    Everyone in UAE knows that biggest is best.

    UAE may not light up the international league tables in standard of living, education standards, press... more

    Friday, 29 August 2014 4:20 PM - Proud UAEer
  • 9
    Saudi Arabia seeks talks on hiring of Sri Lankan maids

    perhaps the unemployed saudi men or the millions of women who are not allowed to work could pick up a broom and start sweeping their own houses. more

    Sunday, 31 August 2014 3:28 PM - nice
  • 9
    Smoke-free Dubai - the big debate

    Surprisingly the only studies that show a negative financial impact of the smoking ban on the hospitality industry are sponsored by tobacco companies ... more

    Wednesday, 27 August 2014 4:19 PM - Telcoguy
  • 24
    World's most pierced man refused entry to the UAE

    Tolerance has its limits everywhere including Dubai and those who considered Dubai a lawless circus were held thank you Dubai authorities... more

    Thursday, 21 August 2014 10:51 PM - Khalil
  • 23
    Baby NOT on board?

    Some of you cry babies need to get your own personal apartments on the plane ! You cry more then the babies I have seen in my travels. LOL more

    Thursday, 28 August 2014 9:10 AM - Jim
  • 21
    Israel “must be punished” over Gaza, says Dubai police chief

    This high moral ground that Mick is talking abt sound very familiar. May I remind Mick that the US & its British ally alone killed over 1 million innocent... more

    Thursday, 7 August 2014 4:12 PM - Mathew