UAE telecom market lacks competition - du CEO

But customers are seeing improvements in the number of services offered by the country's two operators
UAE telecom market lacks competition - du CEO
Du was launched in 2006 as part of a government plan to boost competition. (ITP Images)
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Thu 21 Oct 2010 07:29 AM

The UAE telecom market lacks competition but customers are seeing some improvement in the number of services offered by the country’s two operators, the CEO of du has told Arabian Business.

“There is never enough competition,” Osman Sultan said. “The most important thing is ensure that customers have the choice, this is today happening in the mobile [and] it will happen through the right value proposition in the fixed and broadband market.”

Du was launched in 2006 as part of a government plan to boost competition in the telecommunications sector but delays in infrastructure and number portability deals have failed to create value.

A shared infrastructure deal with Etisalat, which would allow du to reach areas that could not be accessed before for fixed line telephone, internet and television services, is being hammered by technical glitches, said Sultan. “There are technical things that have been identified [and] these technical things are taking a little bit longer than anticipated.”

On Monday Grahame Maher, CEO of Vodafone Qatar, told Arabian Business that he thought the UAE telecoms market lacked real competition.  “I think prices are significantly higher in Dubai then they are in Qatar. So I would say you need real competition,” he said.

“In Qatar we have it, but I don’t think there is real competition in Dubai. So if you have real competition, two is enough. You can have five, but if there isn’t any real competition it won’t help you,” Maher added.

When asked if he agreed with Maher’s comments Sultan said: “My answer is no I don’t agree with this…I see competition in what is happening to customers; every day there is a new offer, every day there is new offer of getting value for money, I see competition from the customer point of view is there.”

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