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TRA: VoIP will not be liberalised in the UAE

Mohamed Al Ghanim says Etisalat and du are only operators allowed to offer VoIP services in the UAE.

The director general of the UAE Telecommuni-cations Regulatory Authority (TRA), Mohamed Al Ghanim has stated categorically that the UAE market will not be opened up for the provision of voice over IP (VoIP) services. The use of such technology will remain the exclusive right of the country’s two licensed integrated operators: Etisalat and du.

“Etisalat and du will be the only operators allowed to utilise VoIP in the local market,” said Al Ghanim. “Some of the press misinterpreted our press release [regarding VoIP] by suggesting the technology would be opened up to all companies. This is not the case. It will only be Etisalat and du that can provide VoIP.”

While the VoIP issue has been on the national agenda for some months, the TRA has also been busying itself with the regulation of the internet in the UAE, and has embarked on a number of initiatives to more tightly regulate internet functions.

One such initiative is in the realm of domain management, where the regulator has taken over management of the operation of web domains that end with the designation ‘.ae’.

The regulator is also in the process of establishing a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), which will act as the first point of contact to deal with computer threats and viruses. The TRA is also heavily involved in type approval initiatives, requiring radio and telecoms terminal equipment to comply with technical specifications and be registered with the TRA before it can be supplied to the UAE. All these provisions are set to offer further confidence to the market.

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