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Mon 25 Jan 2010 06:21 PM

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UAE's telco watchdog issues rules to boost competition

TRA chief reveals strategy to curb 'unfair and excessive pricing' in telecoms sector.

The UAE's telecoms watchdog on Monday published its new regulations to ensure greater competition between operators Etisalat and du.

Under the new Competition Framework, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said it would crack down on any anti-competitive practices, adding that any complaints lodged by either company would be investigated.

Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, director general of the TRA, said the move was an "importance piece" for regulating the telecoms sector in the UAE in a statement posted on the TRA's website.

He added that the new regulations would help "foster growth and development of the telecommunication sector through the creation of sustainable, vibrant and fair competition".

The new framework policy said it was "ultimately for the benefit of consumers, to promote and protect competition by deterring Entities from engaging in activities that may impede competition in the UAE telecommunications sector", adding it would stop "unfair and excessive pricing".

Al Ghanim added: “The TRA consulted with several stakeholders during the development phase of the framework, and we are very happy to put in place such an important piece of the telecommunication’s regulations within the country.”

In November, a YouGov Siraj lifestyle survey in the UAE showed that 57 percent of mobile users in the UAE would consider switching their operator if they were allowed.

The poll, which polled 984 UAE residents, 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.

In October, the TRA said it was set to launch mobile phone number portability in the UAE.

The move, which was delayed by technical difficulties but is expected to go live this year, 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.

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poorish 10 years ago

Yes! the UAE residents will switch if the had the choice ... 6% of those residents feel that they have the choice ... DU is not a choice and for good reasons ... No services ... No customer support ... but they have this ability to take your cash and make your life miserable ... TRA should start looking at customer satisfaction more than unfair competition ...

Joe 10 years ago

What Competition? Du operates in some areas providing broadband and TV services with landline phone etc. They hold exclusive monopoly in such areas as Etisalalat or others do not operate in these areas at all. Du takes their subscribers in these areas for a RIDE with very poor quality service. Customer Service means put the customer on HOLD and play some silly music to him for at least half an hour while they dream of an excuse etc. My service had a break down about 3 weeks ago. After numerous phone calls (headache) and emails (which only receive an automated reply stating their MISSION) practically little action to resolve the issues. After three weeks they have come to the conclusion that my service breaks down because I am using a Wireless Router. Hahahahahahahaa - I do not even possess a Wireless Router or anything like that. This is Du. Who says the Dodo died?

Duopoly Rules 10 years ago

There is no real competiton in the UAE for mobile customers. In Qatar there is a good battle going on between Q-Tel and Vodafone which has bought prices way down and a more wider variety of services. The winner is the customer. Sure it has its teething problems, but you can see true competiton. I just don't see the same thing going on in the UAE and you need to ask why?

BV 10 years ago

So... instead of having Du and Etisalat rat each other out to mama TRA, causing yet more delays and lousy service to clients from either side, how about ACTUALLY allowing for some competition? Invite Orange, O2, Vodafone, T-Mobile, or other such international service providers in on the 'competition'?? Once that happens, only then will we see true customer service, ACTUAL competition and reduced prices for both mobiles AND international calls on landlines AND high-speed internet, and I am guessing that Etisalat and DU would seriously struggle against any of these giants as they currently have NO idea what they seem to be doing...

Omar Shamma 10 years ago

True competition requires the following in order of priority: 1. Allow consumer choice for all services (mobile, fixed, internet, TV) in all parts of the country. 2. Government to reduce its stake in both operators such that they can realistically be considered independent entities operating in a free market. 3. Operators to focus on providing service and customer satisfaction not just tout how many subscribers they have won. 4. Open the market up to competition, by selling a limited number of operating licenses...should be a great revenue earner for the government. It truely baffles me how the UAE (Dubai in particular), which needs to increase FDI in the economy, artificially keeps telecoms costs high, thus hindering the global competitiveness of the country, whilst Sh. Mohammed sets up committees to look at how to enhance the competitiveness of the country.

sultan 10 years ago

competition?! what competition?! this word does not exist in the telecoms industry dictionary in the UAE...its monopoly, monopoly monopoly monopoly....

Stuart 10 years ago

Verizon in the US; 3 in the UK, HK, AU, IT, and more offers plans with free Skype to Skype calling. I used to live in the UAE and while I had a preference for Etisillat, that would have made me jump in an NYC minute.