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Etisalat launches SMS breaking news service

Etisalat has launched a new breaking news service that will allow its mobile subscribers to access news in the form of SMS.

Etisalat’s latest offering to its mobile subscribers—both WASEL and Speak Easy pre-paid and GSM post-paid— is its SMS Breaking News service. The service is being introduced in conjunction with Etisalat’s local content provider, Info2cell, who sources its information from Agence France Press (AFP). Breaking news will be directed to subscribers’ handsets allowing them to stay in touch with the latest local and international news as well as events. The service will soon be extended to include details of local events and activities as well.

The new service is open to all mobile subscribers at a cost of AED10 a month. No additional rental charges are involved. To ensure added convenience, the service is available between 8am and midnight on a daily basis. To register, WASEL and Speak Easy subscribers can dial 122 to access Etisalat’s Interactive Voice Response service. The AED10 is collected in advance. To register, there must be sufficient credit on the phone. Each month, the process must be repeated. Post paid GSM subscribers can call Etisalat’s Interactive Voice Response service on 125. They will be billed on their bill.

This new service is part of Etisalat’s latest efforts to increase mobile penetration in the UAE, which at about 56% is currently amongst the highest in the world, and it joins the growing list of impressive value added services available in the UAE. The Mersal message service was launched in November 1998 and is now enjoyed by over 500,000 registered users. SMS text messaging was introduced in February 1999 and today, a 30 million messages are sent every month.

Earlier this year saw the launch of E-WAP followed very shortly after by Arabic content in the form of the ALWAN service. Etisalat claims that even WAP, which has struggled to gain subscribers around the world, has been successful in the UAE with almost 150,000 WAP subscribers making 70,000 hits every day.

More recently Etisalat launched the ISHAAR package, which offers three services in one—GSM Call Conferencing, e-mail notification on GSM handsets via SMS text messaging and GSM Call Waiting. Plans are also in place to introduce outgoing calls while roaming for WASEL subscribers by the start of next year.

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