By Roger Field
Applications for pricing changes rejected owing to potential breaches of price control policy
The UAE's Telecom Regulatory Authority has called on Etisalat and du to avoid pricing techniques such as cross subsidisation and "hooking" customers with long-term contracts, which breach the TRA's price control policy.
While the TRA fell short of accusing the operators of attempting to implement illegal pricing policies, it confirmed that it has been forced to reject more than 17% of Etisalat's requests to introduce new marketing offers or service charges.
HE Mohamed Al Ghanim, board member and director general of the TRA, said: "The TRA had to review 113 price requests from Etisalat in 2007 that encompass 944 price reviews. Out of the 113, 17.7% were rejected because they did not comply with the PCP, 18.6% were returned to sender because the applications were not complete, where 63.7% were approved."
Al Ghanim added that the telecom operators must comply with the TRA's price control policies, and that the operators have to acquire TRA approval when they want to change the prices of their existing services or when they want to provide new services.
"The PCP aims at protecting the consumers...through preventing practices that may endanger competition such as cross subsidization, hooking the consumers with long-term contracts, pricing some services with less than their actual cost, and other similar practices that contradict with the concept of fair competition," Al Ghanim said.