Etisalat 'deliberately delays' system that allows competition
2010 before all customers can switch from Etisalat to another provider - TRA.
A technical system to allow competition in the UAE's landline telephone and broadband internet markets has been delayed for a year on the request of Etisalat, it was revealed on Monday.
The system, called ‘carrier pre-selection’, which allows people to switch between networks, was mandated by the government last year.
Once in effect it will allow Etisalat customers to move over to du services, introducing price-based competition into the market.
However, a statement issued by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) on Sunday said that Etisalat, the UAE’s largest telecommunications provider, had asked for the scheme’s introduction to be stalled until 2010, according to UAE daily The National.
The “deliberate delay”, initiated in December last year, means customers will continue to pay more than twice the European average for broadband internet, as a result of being tied to Etisalat services.
The TRA, which supports the introduction of price-based competition, had hoped that carrier pre-selection would be available for all UAE customers, by the beginning of this year.
But, for the system to be implemented modifications have to be made to Etislat’s fixed-line network.
Modifications had only been completed on lines covering two thirds of the UAE population before Etisalat called a halt to the work in December last year.
Mohamed Al Ghanim, director general of the TRA said it would now be 2010 before carrier pre-selection would be available to everyone.
Last week Farid Faraidooni, executive vice president for commercial operations at du, said competition across the country would be the main catalyst for lower broadband internet prices.
However, he added it was unclear when the company would be able to offer its services to customers across the UAE due to unresolved issues such as carrier pre-selection and network sharing.
Etisalat could not be reached for comment by The National.