Etisalat and du fail to reach interconnect agreement

Last month, Osman Sultan, du CEO told CommsMEA that his company was engaged in talks with Etisalat regarding interconnection rates, roaming and number portability.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  April 13, 2006

The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has given Etisalat and du, the country’s incumbent and new entrant telecoms operators, until the end of this month to agree interconnection conditions or face having the TRA intervene in the negotiations, CommsMEA can reveal. Last month, Osman Sultan, du CEO told CommsMEA that his company was engaged in talks with Etisalat regarding interconnection rates, roaming and number portability, and said he expected the negotiations to be concluded in due course. CommsMEA has since learnt that while the majority of terms and conditions have been agreed between the two parties, a number of agreements remain outstanding. Amongst the sticking points are believed to be negotiations related to du’s monopoly in the free trade zones around Dubai, which if true competition is to be introduced in the UAE, should be opened up to Etisalat. Speaking to CommsMEA last month, du chairman Ahmad Bin Byat expressed his support for such a development. “We should be able to access all Etisalat customers and Etisalat should be able to access ours,” Bin Byat commented. “I think all customers in the emirates should be able to access both service providers – that should be the ultimate goal. Now, when the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is going to be able to reach that stage, I hope it will be soon.” The actual rate being suggested for du to interconnect with Etisalat’s network has also been speculated as another sticking point.

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