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Kuwait operators near MMS interconnection deal

The two Kuwaiti mobile operators, MTC-Vodafone and Wataniya, are close to completing an agreement to allow their respective subscribers to swap multimedia messages (MMS).

The two Kuwaiti mobile operators, MTC-Vodafone and Wataniya, are close to completing an agreement to allow their respective subscribers to swap multimedia messages (MMS).

The operators say they are aiming to conclude talks on MMS interconnection by the end of 2003, but could complete the move sooner to allow users to send greetings cards between networks at Eid.

"We are in the final stages of resolving [interconnection] with MTC-Vodafone," says David Murray, Wataniya's chief executive officer.

"This will make a major difference because customers want to send messages [between networks.] When [SMS] interconnection was put in place, the market boomed," he adds.

"We are on the verge of signing an interconnection agreement," confirms Dr. Saad Al Barrak, director general, MTC-Vodafone.

Additionally, UAE operator, Etisalat, is hopeful that it will be able to allow users to send MMS messages abroad by the end of 2003. It is testing interconnection with peers in Jordan and Egypt, as well as European countries such as Switzerland.

"By the end of the year or Q1, 2004, there will be some [international] operators you can send messages to," says a spokesperson for the operator.

Etisalat claims to have built up around 200,000 subscribers since launching MMS in July. It halted MMS subscriptions in October to review its network capacity, but is expected to renew sign-ups in November.

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