By Andy Sambidge
Survey reveals customer loyalty gap as regulator mulls more competition.
Fifty-seven percent of mobile users in the UAE would consider switching their operator if they were allowed, according to the results of a new survey published on Wednesday.
The YouGov Siraj lifestyle poll, which polled 984 UAE residents last month, also revealed that 68 percent of respondents said that Etisalat was their sole mobile service provider, as opposed to just six percent who chose Du.
The remaining 26 percent said they used both. When asked to indicate which they consider to be their main service provider (the service provider whose services they use most of the time), Etisalat's figure bumped up 11 points to 79 percent, the survey said.
When respondents were asked if in the future they would consider switching from their current mobile phone service provider 57 percent indicated they would probably or definitely do so.
In fact, 22 percent indicated that they would "definitely" consider the change.
Amir Bozorgzadeh, business development associate at YouGov Siraj, said: "This is certainly a clear signal that albeit assumptions that Etisalat maintains a strong, monopoly-like, position in the market, there is apt room for Du to aggressively take market share should its marketing mix continue to exploit the current gap in consumer loyalty."
He added: "Etisalat, for its part, will have to stand steady on its toes and summon up innovative approaches to bolster its current position at the top of the hill."
Mobile phone customers in the UAE are expected to be given the ability to migrate between Etisalat and Du networks soon.
Last month, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said it was set to launch mobile phone number portability in the UAE in November.
The move will allow customers to migrate to any network operator using their existing number and will help boost competition between the country's two operators, bringing price and service benefits to consumers, the TRA said.
Also speaking last month, Du CEO Osman Sultan said internet customers in the UAE should be able to choose their provider in 2010.
He described opening up competition on fixed internet access as "the next big thing" but was reluctant to put an exact date on when it might happen.
out of my life experiences with mobile operators, and i have been around, etisalat, is by far the worlds most expensive and they have the worst customer care services anywhere in the world... seriously etisalat, get your act together.....
hope the competition will reduce price - just to compare - I pay for Etisalat 0.05$/min my children in Russia 0.01$. For internet - I have ADSL unlimited 512K for 50$, in Russia - 4M unlimited for 30$
It is beyond expensive. It is a rip off. They still need to drop their fees until they become halal or kosher. They also need to allow their consumers the option to be able to cancel their services either via phone or internet which they currently do not allow for those that have data services. Pretty much everything set up is to collect money and rip the consumer off. Anyone tried subscribing to a data package and canceling the service before they left town via phone or internet online? lol.. You can only do this if you go to their office in person and it has to be for that day. You can't ask them to have the service stopped at any time of the month.
Just to compare, I am in Kuala Lumpur. I bought a Mobile GSM card for equivalent of 10 Dhs. That's a new phone number for 10 Dhs. And 4 Dirhams was call credit, which I could use to call. I called my relatives in Iran. It cost me around 2.20 Dhs per minute. From Dubai it costs me 4.50 per minute. How that makes any sense is beyond me. While on the subject, I've been waiting for the Canon G11 Digital camera to come to Dubai. They only have the old G10 model. The price in Dubai is 2295 Dhs. The new G11 in Kuala Lumpur is 1750 Dhs. Dubai is no longer a shopper's paradise, KL is