Du CEO says BlackBerry ban won't have big impact

UPDATE 1: UAE's second operator says it currently has around 100,000 BlackBerry customers.
Du CEO says BlackBerry ban won't have big impact
BAN IMPACT: The CEO of Du said on Wednesday that he did not see the BlackBerry ban having a major impact on the business. (Getty Images)
By Ed Attwood
Wed 04 Aug 2010 11:53 AM

The decision to ban the BlackBerry in the UAE is unlikely to affect du's business significantly, the CEO of the country's second telco said on Wednesday.

"There might be an ease, but as a generic question, I don't see a significant impact on our economics," du CEO Osman Sultan told reporters in Dubai.

"Customers are still there and customers have needs as far as email is concerned."

Sultan described the BlackBerry as one instrument in du's plan to attract high-end users to the telco.

"It's one part, the iPhone is another, as are our elite plans and our offers on roaming."

Sultan also revealed that du has "close to 100,000" BlackBerry customers in the UAE, which would give it around twenty percent of the country's consumer base.

The du CEO was speaking at a press conference to explain the alternative packages that the firm will make available to its BlackBerry subscribers should the Telecommmunications Regulatory Authority (TRA)'s planned suspension go ahead on October 11.

Individual customers will be provided with a standard assurance plan, involving the current unlimted data fee, plus 1,000 free SMSs a month. International BlackBerry customers will receive an extra 20MB of data usage.

Customers opting for a yearly contract have two other options; they can either opt to pay less for unlimited local and international data bundles, or they can pay the same amount and receive either free or discounted smartphones. Customers will be able to select those options from 1 September.
 
Business customers on the unlimited local plan have three options, including the option for a smartphone voucher is they choose a plan over AED140 a month.

There are similar plans available for international unlimited data customers.

Sultan confirmed that if the planned suspension was rescinded prior to October 11, these new arrangements would be removed.

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