Regulator refutes Etisalat claim on iPhone prices

EXCLUSIVE: The UAE's TRA says it is not responsible for high cost of owning new phone.

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By  Soren Billing Published  April 9, 2009

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) on Thursday hit back at phone operator Etisalat’s claims that the agency was responsible for the high price of the iPhone in the UAE.

The regulator said that Etisalat is permitted to sell the iPhone for any amount that was not below the cost price, meaning the price Etisalat pays Apple for the handsets.

“The TRA does not interfere in the deals or agreements done by any of the licensed telecoms operators with any third party, hence, the TRA is not aware of the details of the agreement between Etisalat and Apple,” director general HE Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim said.

Etisalat chief executive Mohammed Al Qamzi told a press conference last Wednesday that his company wanted to lower the price of some of its iPhone packages, if given permission by the TRA.

The company had repeatedly contacted the regulator for permission to lower the price of the iPhone and other promotions, but had yet to hear back from the regulator, he said.

Etisalat charges AED2,646 ($720) for the iPhone on a one year payment plan with a monthly cost of AED199 ($54).

That makes it significantly more expensive than in the UK, where O2, a subsidiary of Spain’s Telefonica, provides the handset free of charge on a monthly GBP45 ($65) payment plan.

In the US, AT&T charges $199 for the iPhone under a two year payment plan, where the monthly charge starts at $70 per month in the New York City area, in addition to a $36 activation fee.

The TRA also accused Etisalat of not submitting the wholesale cost of some of its products, making it difficult to monitor its pricing policies.

“It is notable that since 2006, the TRA has adhered to Etisalat to provide the cost prices of its services, to help us set-up the most appropriate price control standards. Yet, until now, Etisalat has not provided the TRA with this information,” Al Ghanim said.

Etisalat, one of the most expensive iPhone operators in the world, launched the iconic Apple handset in the UAE in February this year.


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3718 days ago

need i to say more? just don't buy and subscribe. no demand means no business...boycott it! besides you will be lazy later on with all the apps then you will notice u are using only the phone but paying more because of the unused extras/apps.

3721 days ago

Etisalat are expensive for everything, whereby their competitor is cheap so just use your consumer power and switch. Cheaper startup & you pay per second rather than per minute, the service is good plus you can buy a hacked iphone and use it on any network for much cheaper than a year's rental.

3721 days ago

Etisalat probably provides the costliest services in the region. I have worked in Saudi Arabia before and the call rates in Saudi Arabia were approximately 60% of what is being charged here and the Irony is that etisalat is one of the share holder in the saudi arabian operator, Mobily (Etihad Etisalat Company). If you compare the call charges from UAE to any of the country with the charges from the same country to UAE you will find that in some cases the difference is of upto 3 to 4 times.

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