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Wed 24 Mar 2010 07:36 AM

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UAE telco regulator eyes service fees cut in H2 2010

TRA chief also says targeting 2015 for total liberation of telecoms market.

UAE telco regulator eyes service fees cut in H2 2010
TELCO TALKS: The UAEs watchdog is in talks with Etisalat and du which could lead to service fee reductions. (Getty Images)

Talks with the UAE's two telecom companies on a new plan to enable a reduction in fees should be completed by the middle of this year, the country's industry regulator has said.

Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, director general of the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA), speaking at a Federal National Council session on Tuesday, said that the TRA was supervising negotiations between Etisalat and du – aimed at reducing service fees.

"This would lead to a reduction of charges and offering of new services, especially those related to broadband internet," he said in comments published by Emirates Business on Wednesday.

"The telecom sector in any country passes through three phases – starting from monopoly, [moving] to competition and finally to complete liberation and openness," said Al Ghanim.

He added that the UAE was still in the competition phase and was aiming for "complete liberation and openness of this sector will be reached in the country in 2015".

He said the UAE's mobile phone penetration rate was 204 percent with a total of 10.7 million subscribers.

Last week, leading UK-based telecoms consultancy Ovum said the prospects of a third mobile licence for the UAE in the near future currently look unlikely.

“In the UAE, you have two essentially government-owned operators, so it’s not necessarily in their interests to enter a third player,” Ovum emerging markets analyst Daniel Subramanian told Arabian Business.

“They want to ensure that du has a solid footing before they let in a big player or launch a third firm locally.”

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