GCC broadband 'too expensive' says Du CEO

More competition needed in Arab world market to bring down costs - telecoms chief.

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By  Tom Arnold Published  November 11, 2008

More competition is needed in the broadband market in the Arab world, where prices are too expensive, the chief executive of telecom firm Du said.

Osman Sultan said broadband pricing in Arabic countries needed to fall to match the cost of the service in the US and Europe.

“More competition means a more dynamic environment this is for sure,” he said.

“We (Du) price broadband but if you look at it from the point of view of an evolutionary framework, you need to have a proper evolution of broadband. Today if you want to buy broadband, as opposed to the US and Europe, it is still expensive in the Arab world.

“Here you have two operators in the UAE but you can’t say today the competition is playing fully in the broadband market.”

He said there were ongoing discussions between the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and the UAE’s other telecommunications operator, Etisalat, to see if Du could use its competitor’s existing broadband infrastructure to operate in other emirates outside Dubai.

“In the UAE we have infrastructure, we can’t say the same elsewhere in the other Arab world. This (the infrastructure) is needed if you want to get the broadband take-up as in other countries." he said.

Broadband consumers in the US pay an average of $16 per megabit per second of download speed, much lower than the $46 average in the Middle East and Africa, according to UK analyst firm Point Topic.

In Western Europe consumers pay an average of $6.23 per megabit per second of download speed.

Sultan was speaking at a panel discussion on the future of the internet in the Gulf hosted by Tejari, the Middle East's largest business-to-business online marketplace for global emerging markets.

Following the meeting a five-point plan of action was put together that included building the Gulf’s ICT infrastructure, a long term goal to position Dubai as a global hub for multi cultural language, the importance of Arabic generated content, the need to foster a culture of entrepreneurship amongst the young and the importance of education and a unanimous need for an internet policy to protect the privacy, safety and rights of users.

3500 days ago
Mirza Ansar Baig

Surely very well said..by Mr.Sultan Three important things needs to be improved. 1) Price's needs to be improved. 2) Installation set up for new connection needs to be improved by etisalat. when i was in Sharjah,UAE it took them almost 3 weeks and more to get the installation line connected. 3) After sales service needs to be improved also around GCC. |With Best Regards to All, Miirza.

3502 days ago

The article is very interesting and I believe that Mr Sultan has the correct strategy to bring the Middle East Broadband providers in line with the rest of the world. However, the comparison should have also included that in Japan 100Mbps is available. Furthermore, the price in Japan for broadband is lowest at $0.22 per megabit per second. However, the above is based on fibre optics. So I believe the infrastructure should be planned for this capacity in the GCC communities. Alternatively, ADSL2+ technology should be in the roadmap until fibre optics is in place.

3506 days ago

As a broadband customer of Du, I agree entirely with Mr. Sultan and as he is in a perfect position to resolve my expensive broadband costs in the region, I look forward to receiving a price cut from him....

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