Etisalat cuts cost of broadband

UAE operator offers temporary 40% reduction as it prepares for nationwide roll out of fibre to the home by 2011

Tags: Etisalat International - UAEUnited Arab Emirates
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Etisalat cuts cost of broadband  Etisalat says the entire city of Abu Dhabi will be connected to its fibre network in two weeks. (ITP Images)
By  George Bevir Published  December 17, 2009

Etisalat announced yesterday that it has temporarily cut the price of its internet packages by as much as 40%, as it sets about promoting its fibre optic network, which the UAE incumbent says will cover the entire country by 2011.

So far, some 60% of the country's homes are connected to Etisalat's fibre to the home (FTTH) network, with every home in the city of Abu Dhabi to be connected inside the next two weeks, according to Khalifa Hassan Al Shamsi, Etisalat's senior vice president for marketing.

At present the top download speed offered by Etisalat is 30Mbps, but this will be increased to 100Mbps next year. A monthly subscription to Etisalat's 30Mbps package, which will normally cost AED499, has been reduced to AED364 until 15th January. 8Mbps has been temporarily reduced to AED204, down from its usual price of AED299.

Al Shamsi says the AED5 billion cost of connecting every home in the UAE to Etisalat's fibre optic network will be recouped in a variety of ways.

"Enhancing the penetration of broadband, which will automatically bring additional revenue, will be the first," Al Shamsi said. "And increasing the availability of Etisalat's TV services, from limited pockets to the whole nation, will also be a boost.

"With the fibre capability come higher speeds, so Etisalat will be able to sell higher speed packages which will enhance revenue. And Etisalat will have the capability to launch services such as video on demand and high definition television and advances in multiscreen technology. Advertising revenue will be the backup - the cream on the cake," he added.

Etisalat is offering a combination of broadband internet and landline services under the ‘eLife' banner, with both services billed as one. In 2010 high definition television and video on demand services will be added to the brand, when more homes will have been connected to the fibre optic network.

Rolling out a nationwide FTTH network has not been easy for Etisalat, according to chief marketing officer Essa Al Haddad. He said: "While many customers are willing to open the door, many are not. Sometimes, we had to visit the same customer 11 times to be able to deploy the fibre to the home. "

And he said that running two networks- one fibre and one DSL - has also been a challenge.

"Some [customers] will say, ‘We are already users of your online services today and your internet is slow', and some [customers] make a very valid statement, but as we roll out fibre to the home there is a challenge on running two separate networks at the same time. This challenge will be with us for a few months."

2871 days ago
Ghassan A. Ismail

Yes you're right Dear Kamel, The internet users in UAE are not getting that what they are paying for. The overcharges in the internet bill(highest in the region) is not justified at all, and it is another indirect fees implication on the public forced to use the internet(so primitive) in UAE. I address our concern to TRA to review completely the packages & their respective rates to reflect the real benefit of end user and not only Etisalat & DU interests. Will we hear any reply from the concerned CEO's representatives? I doubt it.

2889 days ago
Kamel

It is an over statement on the new broadband service, the unlimited package (why it is capped??) with no details on the hidden over charges. Internet still not competitive and not even close to the services offered by other service providers in neigboring countries and no need to compare to similar servicves in Sigapore for example.

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