‘du’ for launch on 25 February

The UAE's second telecoms operator has said that it will launch nearly two weeks after deadline.

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By  Administrator Published  January 23, 2007

The UAE’s second telecoms operator, du, has said that it is to launch services on 25 February, according to today’s Al Bayan newspaper.

The date is nearly two weeks after the February 12 deadline set for it by the local Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA), and months after the November 2006 launch date originally set by du CEO Osman Sultan.

The company could face a TRA fine for failing to make the February 12 deadline, although this is not thought to be the regulatory body’s first choice of action.

Osman Sultan has said that the operator will sign 40 link agreements – covering 171 states – with other international telecoms operators before the launch. The company will operate more than 100 services centers in the UAE.

A total of 750,000 potential customers have registered a number through du’s ‘055 My Number’ booking campaign.

According to a recent report by investment bank EFG Hermes, du is forecast to break even at EBITA level by 2009, with projected earnings of AED575 million (US$153 million) by 2010. It is also expected to have a mobile and fixed line market share of 33% and 15% respectively by that time.

EFG Hermes also stated that du’s government-backed entry into the UAE’s monopolised telecoms market represents the UAE’s commitment to WTO deregulation requirements, while simultaneously protecting the current incumbent - Etisalat - from potentially aggressive tactics of an international entrant.

"Competition by du is viewed largely as being local and not brought by an international player, such as Vodafone, whose scale, marketing capabilities and brand recognition especially in an expatriate environment like the UAE, could have constituted a greater threat for Etisalat," read the report.

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