Dubai's du sees competition in fixed-line services within months
Chairman of du said 'agreement was in place' and companies will be competing soon
Telecom operator du said on Tuesday that a long-delayed deal on network sharing to allow competition in broadband, TV and landline services in the United Arab Emirates has been agreed and should be effective by the end of the year, Reuters reported.
Network sharing would mean that the two companies, which have been in negotiations since early 2009 would be able to compete in the same areas.
"We are not there yet," du's chairman, Ahmad Bin Byat, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai. "It's just a matter of a couple of months I guess at the maximum. The agreement is in place, the legality has been sorted out."
Du said last July that network sharing would be introduced by the end of 2014, while an Etisalat bond prospectus mentioned the same deadline.
In an exclusive interview with ITP.net's sister magazine CommsMEA, Osman Sultan, du CEO, said: "We will need to wait till the end of 2015", he added that all the players will make a formal announcement.
"Now there is some testing happening and I don't want to make a formal announcement as it is a multi-stake holders agreement involving the TRA, our competitor and ourselves, it only makes sense that a formal announcement is done."
"This agreement will be related to what we call the dual play, the possibility to shift from one operator and another. It will not include TV at this stage, because there are some technical issues and TV will be done at a latest stage." He added.
Reports of this go back even earlier than last year, as in 2011, the GITEX Times reported that Mohamed Al Ghanim, director general, TRA said: "The intention is to see competition in triple-play services: fixed telephony, internet access and IPTV. However there are some technical and commercial issues to be resolved before IPTV can be launched as a bit-stream access service. We are working towards resolving these issues by a commercial launch in December."