Etisalat, UAE to offer VoIP services
Etisalat says the delay in deploying VoIP services is because the regulator must first approve any price change
Etisalat, UAE will offer Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services by the end of the second quarter this year.
Skype is among the foreign VoIP providers which are officially banned in the UAE, as the government tries to stop outside competition for the two domestic operators. Reuters reported that Etisalat and Du are the only companies licensed for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services - free Internet-to-Internet calls and cheap Internet-to-phone calls, however both operators are concerned that VoIP services will erode revenues from traditional voice services.
When Etisalat was asked when it would launch VoIP services, Essa Haddad, Etisalat's chief commercial officer said: "we are talking about quarter two, 2012. Any price change has to be [approved] by the regulator and that's why it's taking time because we need to get this finalised."
Etisalat operates in 17 markets, and has reported declining revenues in seven of the past eight quarters, which it attributes to the rise of du and VoIP usage.