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Thu 29 Dec 2011 07:37 AM

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UAE broadband, fixed line network sharing plan postponed

TRA had said customers would be able to choose network provider by the end of the year

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

Plans to allow businesses and residential consumers in the UAE to chose their network provider for fixed line and broadband services have been postponed, the UAE regulator has said.

The Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA) had promised the service would be implemented before the end of the year but on Wednesday confirmed both Etisalat and du were technically “not ready” to launch the network sharing service.

“Since both operators are technically “not ready” the full commercial launch has been postponed until the completion of the technical readiness,” the regulator said in an emailed statement.

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

Older areas are typically the preserve of former monopoly Etisalat while du, which launched in 2007, is often the sole provider in newer developments, but customers will soon be able to choose between the two.

The TRA in July soft launched the network sharing service to a select group of customers and said it planned to roll the service out by the year end.

“Etisalat and du compete strongly in mobile services and we can all see the benefits that competition in mobile services has brought to the UAE,” TRA director general Mohamed Al Ghanim said in a statement.

“We will soon enter a phase of strong competition in fixed services and we expect similar benefits to flow as a result.  We hope that this final stage of testing and implementation is successful so that we can see a commercial launch before the end of the year,” he added.

Network sharing in the UAE has long been promised. Etisalat and du completed talks on the issue in July last year, with the TRA indicating that their networks were “technically ready” to begin the service.

The two firms began internal nationwide testing in the UAE in January this year.

Networking sharing will boost competition between the operators, said telecoms analyst Hasan Sandila at IDC Middle East, Turkey & Africa. “The sharing of networks will help make competition fairer and break the monopoly of the incumbent in its areas of coverage,” he said.

“Since consumers and small and SMEs are driven by price, the fixed telecom space will become an open playing field...In the large business segment, the general feeling within the operator community is that bitstream access will have somewhat less impact because price sensitivity is lower for large businesses than for consumers and SMEs,” he added.

Du
in a statement to Arabian Business said “both operators are working hard
 to ensure seamless testing and closure of all technical aspects.”

“The
commercial launch date will be decided and communicated by the TRA
accordingly,” it added. 

 

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Jay 8 years ago

What a joke.... They announced the decision to share networks about 18 months ago..and even today they are not ready...

Etisalat doesnt want to leave its monopoly..that's it..

Jisam 8 years ago

What a joke.... They announced the decision to share networks about 18 months ago..and even today they are not ready...

Etisalat doesnt want to leave its monopoly..that's it..