By Andrew White
Telecom regulator says changes to phone network will increase competition, benefit consumers.
The UAE's telecom regulator has said it expects consumers to enjoy lower phone tariffs next year as providers Du and Etisalat make further changes to the phone network.
UAE daily Gulf News reported on Sunday that the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has directed the two operators to provide Carrier Pre-Selection Services (CPS) for customers in the Gulf state.
The system will allow customers to have their calls automatically routed through a network offering lower call cost, but without the need to dial a prefix or use special equipment.
This will increase competition in the telecom sector, reduce prices, and enable consumers to freely choose their provider of national and international fixed-line call services, the TRA said in a statement.
The telecom market has a high rate of penetration, but Du and Etisalat mainly compete on services rather than price, resulting in high tariffs, according to the newspaper.
According to an industry report by investment bank Al Mal Capital, mobile penetration last year was 166.4 percent, while internet user penetration was 44.7 percent. The rate for fixed-line penetration was 30 percent.
The report noted that once carrier pre-selection service is fully implemented, users could take advantage of Du's cheaper peak time international charges, and this should encourage Etisalat to lower its international call rates.
A good start would be to reduce the "extortionate" broadband rates offered by Etisalat and Du, by at least 50 percent.
You are absolutely correct Naz. The TRA, as a resulator, has a role to protect the consumer against duopoly abuse and the current rates (and services) are just that. This should be the TRA's priority.
Is it just me or did Etisalat not promise that at the beginning of 2007 they had plans to bring in the per second charge over cell phone calls? Surprise no one's really talking about it, but more than just speculation people believe that Etisalat and Du are one and this is just all a money making racket. Think about it, Etisalat good signal over cell phone calls, Du bad signal-good pricing (per second) So whatever happened to Etisalat's per second? Why not bring in someone from a global scale, AT&T, Orange?
Lots of promises but still among the world's most expensive and poorest telephone and broadband service with regular breakdowns. The regulator needs to look at the rest of the world and open up the market to some real competition so that we have the rates and service that most of the developed world enjoy together with a variety of monthly contracts rather than this crazy pay as you go at exorbitant rates.