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UAE govt called to act on cheaper calls and more competition

UAE's Federal National Council calls for cheaper services and more competition among telecom operators

Council members cited international calls as one area in particular that is too expensive.
Council members cited international calls as one area in particular that is too expensive.

Members of the UAE's Federal National Council have hit out at the country's telecoms operators and regulator, calling for more competition and cheaper calls.

According to a report in UAE daily the National, council members urged the government to force telecommunications companies to provide cheaper and more efficient services.

In a session that included a debate on the policies of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), some council members were reported to have said that four years after Du broke Etisalat's monopoly the services provided by the two operators still fell short of consumers' demands.

"Four years after a company entered the market, we still have no sign of competition," said Fatima Ghanem al Marri, a member from Dubai. "How long are we going to wait before we reach a competitive market?

"We really feel that we're being drained, whether by the type of services or prices," she added. Making an international phone call in Germany would be cheaper by 90% than making the same call in the UAE, said al Marri.

Mohammed al Ghanim, director general of the TRA defended the actions of the regulator, in the face of claims by operators that their proposals to market certain services or products had been denied.

He said: "The authority made all suitable measures to introduce competition to the telecommunications sector."

He claimed the TRA had measured reductions of between 20% and 70% in the cost of international phone calls since Du entered the market.

"Land phones still need a lot of work because Etisalat still monopolises the infrastructure of land communications," added al Ghanim.