Ten percent of UAE mobile users have switched operator - survey

Poll reveals uptake so far of mobile number portability launch; another 23% says likely to swap

Tags: Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company Etisalat International - UAEUnited Arab Emirates
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Ten percent of UAE mobile users have switched operator - survey Both of the UAE's mobile operators have heavily promoted the new freedom to switch between providers.
By  Andy Sambidge Published  January 15, 2014

A new survey has revealed that approximately one in 10 mobile users in the UAE have swapped operator following the launch of mobile number portability last month.

AMRB, a regional research & consulting firm based in Dubai, announced the figure in a report measuring reaction to MNP which came into effect in the UAE on 30th December.

The poll of about 500 mobile users in the UAE revealed that 10% had already changed their operator while another 23% expressed "high likelihood" of doing so in the near future.

Customer Service was a key reason for subscribers from du and Etisalat, with 46% and 39% of subscribers respectively claiming to be unsatisfied with the current service provider.

The launch of MNP allows mobile users to switch between the country's two operators - Etisalat and du - while keeping the same number. The move by the UAE's telecoms regulator is aimed at increasing competition in the sector.

The survey also showed that 60% of mobile users were aware of MNP being introduced, with Asian subscribers most aware.

It said the propensity to shift service provider is higher among expat Arabs with one third expressing high likelihood to shift.

In comparison, about 22% of Asian subscribers expressed high likelihood to change service provider using MNP.

The survey claimed that for about 56% of existing du subscribers considering change to Etisalat, the driver was the expectation of a better network coverage.

In the case of Etisalat customers, 47% of those wanting to shift to du cited better prices and packages for voice calls as the key reason to shift.

Implementation of MNP globally has been driven by three key elements - decrease in market prices, to facilitate market competition and to increase consumer welfare.

More than 70 countries have implemented MNP worldwide, including markets within the region like Egypt, Pakistan and India.

Sukhdev Singh, associate vice president, AMRB, said: "The success or failure of MNP will ultimately depend upon the time taken to change from one telco to the other, as well as the switching cost involved.

"While the UAE telco market is poised for significant churn in the near term, over the longer horizon, introduction of MNP is a positive step that would lead to greater competition between Mobile Service Providers (MSPs), which would ultimately benefit the consumers."

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