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Etisalat Group CEO: 'Data roaming fees should be cut'

Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar noted that while voice roaming has been improved, data roaming is still an issue

Julfar: "Some of the smartphones update themselves automatically consuming data. I think that there has to be a big shift into data roaming."
Julfar: "Some of the smartphones update themselves automatically consuming data. I think that there has to be a big shift into data roaming."

Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, Etisalat group's chief executive officer has said that operators should provide a better experience for their customers on roaming services, and reduce the cost of data roaming.

The European Commission announced in July 2014 a reduction on the roaming charges, although other regions have yet to follow this move. Data roaming is 25 times cheaper in the EU than during the last World Cup in 2010, as Neelie Kroes, commissioner for Digital Agenda, stated.

Julfar told CommsMEA, (ITP.net's sister site) in an exclusive interview that this move was the first step to improving roaming, and backed the decision that Europe took on cutting rates.

He also noted that while voice roaming has been improved, data roaming is still an issue: “There has been a lot of rationalisation and optimisation of the prices and cost, but there is still the beginning of the improvement,” he said.

“The data roaming is the big issue. What happens with the data roaming is what I call the ‘bill surprise’ or the ‘bill shock’. Sometimes people don’t have control over it. When people end a call, they know how much time they spent. When they are downloading a video, they don’t. Some of the smartphones update themselves automatically consuming data. I think that there has to be a big shift into data roaming,” Julfar said.

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