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Telecoms bodies unite to bolster industry

International deals boost telecoms industry standards and increase foreign investment

The UAE’s telecoms regulatory chief has announced a series of groundbreaking international agreements following calls from Middle Eastern telecoms bodies for more pan-Arab communication initiatives – a move that could open up the sector to huge amounts of foreign direct investment.

HE Mohammad Nasser Al Ghanim, director general of the Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA) in the UAE exclusively told CEO Middle East that he had agreed a Memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the TRA and Bahrain’s regulatory body and that he would sign similar MOUs with Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia “very soon”.

“These agreements will allow us to co-operate and create a telecoms framework that will focus specifically on licensing, sectoral management, and competition resolutions,” he said.
The e-commerce section of the UAE/US free trade agreement has also been completed and the TRA said it was “very positive” about finalising the telecoms chapter of the ongoing negotiations.

The announcement comes after delegates at the Arab ICT Regulators Network (ARNET) met last month, highlighting the need for more communication technology initiatives between Middle Eastern countries to help boost economic growth.

The meeting, attended by representatives from the regulatory bodies of 13 Arab countries, agreed to lay
down a framework of policy regul-ations and technical standards for operators to follow. The importance of increasing competition in the telecoms industry and liberalising the market, was also outlined.

The UAE became the latest Middle Eastern country to liberalise its telecoms industry following the launch of ‘Du’, a second mobile operator to rival Etisalat, in February this year.

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