Third UAE telco not a threat, says Etisalat

Arrival of a third telecom operator in the Emirates not a significant threat, according to official.

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By  Michele Howe Published  September 25, 2007

The arrival of a third telco operator in the UAE is not a significant threat, an official at Etisalat remarked in a recent interview with

Commenting on the potential arrival of a third player on the market, Etisalat chief operating officer Ahmed Abdulkarim Julfar said it would be a bigger problem for Etisalat's competitor du than it would be for itself.

"Normally they say the third operator mainly competes with the second operator not the first. This is the trend in other markets so I think the challenge will be more to our competitor than to us," Ahmed Abdulkarim Julfar told

The UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) director general Mohammed Al Ghanim said during recent Dubai trade show GITEX that the introduction of a third telco player in the UAE was inevitable although he added that it is premature to discuss dates.

Commenting on the impact of its first competitor du, Julfar said it had mainly been positive, helping Etisalat to become more competitive.

"Our mindset has changed," he said. "We used to be very much technology focused, but now we are transforming to a more customer focused environment."

"It is just like a race now. You always want to be ahead of your competitor," he added.

du launched its mobile services in February this year ending Etisalat's 30-year monopoly on telecom service provision in the UAE. It added fixed voice services to its offer in September.

du currently has 850,000 mobile subscribers, while Etisalat says it has more than six million.

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