UAE telco consumers finally get choice of fixed service supplier
Network sharing agreement will allow users to choose between operators for fixed voice and internet service
Telco customers in the UAE can finally choose between the two operators in the country for fixed voice and data services.
The two operators, Etisalat and du, have enabled a network sharing agreement as of 14th July, according to Reuters, which will allow residents to select which operator they take their voice and internet packages from.
Since the launch of du in 2007, customers had been able to choose which operator to use for mobile services, but were constrained by geographic location as to which operator they could choose for voice, data and IPTV.
The ability to chose operators is only open to consumers, and not businesses.
Osman Sultan, CEO of du told Reuters that network sharing has been authorised after five years of negotiation, in which du had pushed for access to Etisalat's networks.
Sultan said that du's share of fixed services revenue was about 15%, He predicted that the move would help du to protect mobile business as customers look for a single provider for all services, but that there would not be a big increase in profit, because of the low margins of fixed-line business.
"For the long-term it's a game changer because it will open up the entire country," said Sultan.
Sultan said that there is also a limit imposed on how many customers can switch provider each month. Sultan declined to reveal what this limit was, but said it would steadily increase and had been imposed due to capacity constraints.
Customers can change fixed phone line and Internet provider, but television will not be added until 2016, said Sultan.