News Column

More choice on the way in telecoms

May 6, 2014

Shereen El Gazzar

Customers in the UAE will soon be able to choose their provider for home TV, internet and phone services regardless of where they live, the telecoms regulator promised yesterday.

"We already have a clear policy for infrastructure sharing or the sharing of networks. The target is to have the commercial launch this year," said Fintan Healy, the executive director of regulatory affairs at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

Last December, the mobile phone market was opened up further with subscribers allowed to switch between the two operators — du and Etisalat — while keeping their mobile numbers unchanged. However, for home services the country is still lagging. Consumers are forced to use one operator based on the area in which they live.

"We achieved more in mobile, largely because it's more competitive. We are not as competitive … in fixed [services]. We know that. Simply the consumer doesn't have a choice," said Mr Healy.

"What we intend is to introduce a choice in service, a competition through infrastructure sharing," he added.

After years of delay, this can now work from a technical standpoint, said Mr Healy.

Analysts say that du is more likely to benefit from a network-sharing agreement with Etisalat.

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: National, The (United Arab Emirates)

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