UAE operators to compete for fixed-line services
The United Arab Emirates’ two telecoms operators, Etisalat and du, will begin competing for fixed-line subscribers in broadband and voice by the end of this year following a fixed-line network sharing trial.
Using Bitstream access technology, the two operators have been engaged in a network sharing scheme which has entered its final stage of testing. A soft-launch of the fixed-line services was introduced last week to a select group of Etisalat and du customers, which will assess all aspects of the service, including the customer experience, customer interface and inter-operator systems.
The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) hopes the move will increase domestic competition in fixed-line services by giving business and residential customers a choice of operators for the first time.
TRA’s director general Mohamed Al Ghanim described the latest development as “a major milestone on the road to competition in fixed-line services”.
“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. 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 said.
Etisalat’s monopoly in the UAE market was broken in 2007 when du first launched its mobile services. The company has since gone on to grab a market share from the former incumbent, serving over four million customers out of a population of approximately six million.
In April, Capacity spoke to du’s EVP of investments (special projects) Andrew Grenville about the company’s strong growth in the UAE market (click here).