UAE broadband price cuts official

As first hinted at on itp.net last week, Etisalat’s internet arm –eCompany - has slashed its broadband internet rates in a bid to increase the penetration of fast internet services across the UAE.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  September 12, 2005

As first hinted at on itp.net last week, Etisalat’s internet arm –eCompany - has slashed its broadband internet rates in a bid to increase the penetration of fast internet services across the UAE. Following hot on the heels of eCompany boosting the speeds of its current customers earlier this month (see last week’s story here), the company has now chopped all its monthly consumer broadband fees by up to 46% and unveiled a new subscriber promotion. The move coincides with Etisalat’s tenth anniversary of internet access in the UAE and sees eCompany cut the monthly fee for its 256k broadband internet connection from AED 190 to AED 149 (a drop of 22%). Its 512k connection price meanwhile has been reduced to AED 189 from AED 250 (a drop of 24%), its 1MB connection price has been reduced to AED 249, down from AED 450 (45% lower), and its quickest 2MB service will now set users back AED 349, compared to the previous, 46% higher sum of AED 650. In addition, whereas in the past new customers had to pay a service set-up or installation fee, those currently signing up for any one of Al Shamil’s broadband packages will receive free installation and free subscription for the first full month. They will also get a 50% reduction on the cost of the regular DSL modem (down to AED 108 or AED 9 each month for 12 months), as well as having the option to add a Siemens wireless gateway (allowing wireless net access around the home from any WLAN-enabled computer), which costs AED 240, or AED 20 per month for a year. “I am extremely pleased to announce these initiatives as part of our sustained focus on increasing the penetration of broadband in the country,” said Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, eCompany’s general manager. Etisalat CEO Mohammed Hassan Omran recently told ITP that the organisation now has over 50,000 residential digital subscriber lines (DSL) operational in the UAE, equating to a 1.95% penetration rate. “Our target is to move to more than 100,000 (DSL subscribers) by the end of the year,” Omran claimed, adding that by 2008 Etisalat’s aim is “to be among the top countries in the world in broadband.” In an announcement made last week and reported by Windows on this site, existing Al Shamil customers had their connections automatically upgraded to the next quickest level for free, giving them faster connections for the same cash outlay. Al Shamil’s 256k subscribers for instance were upgraded to 512k connection speed, without any change in their required monthly fee. These Al Shamil cuts come just weeks after eCompany received a bashing from UAE consumers over a slowdown in internet service speeds. Although the problem was reported by Etisalat to be due to two broken international undersea cables off the coast of Mumbai, India (a problem confirmed by the two respective cable operators in question), many UAE users remained skeptical, outpouring their aggravation in the national newspaper press on an almost daily basis. For more details on eCompany’s new deals, check out www.alshamil.ae or call toll-free on 800-77-666.

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