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Etisalat, du and the TRA confusion – I am not venting

Ibn Battuta Mall

The piteous state of communication over any major deadline constantly results in hundreds of thousands of baffled residents...

October 17, 2012 9:34 by



Update: du has now announced that it too has extended the deadline to January 17 (3 months) and that users need not panic about having their Sim cards barred or disconnected.

Taking the subject of the re-registration of Sim cards for UAE residents and using this platform to vent about it is obviously something that I would never dream of doing. That’s exactly why I am certainly not going to highlight the feeble ‘state of communication’ that flows from decision makers and corporations to the general public in the country.

I will not sit behind this screen – holier than thou –  and pretend that it is easy for any authority or corporation to effectively communicate with residents in the UAE. A country made consisting of hundreds of nationalities and backgrounds – made up of expatriates from all over the world who have come here to work more and re-register less – cannot be the easiest bunch to get a message across to.

Despite denial being the most predictable of instinctual human emotions, we cannot deny that there is a serious ‘chink in the chain’ here.  Of course, confusion over deadlines is not unheard of in every other country but I would have to say that it occurs too frequently here for my taste. From the announced dates of Eid holidays to National ID and Sim card registration; there are flows of contradicting accounts that leave hundreds of thousands (if not more) baffled.

Which brings us to our beloved Sim cards. For some of us, we can toss them away like three-day old soup but for others, who have been using them for years, it’s a lot more to give up. Initially, both du and Etisalat, with the help of the TRA, announced a campaign that ‘links our identity to our mobile numbers’. The first batch of customers were contacted. The deadline was yesterday, October 16th.

The Etisalat and TRA then went ahead and decided to extend that deadline by three months. Some residents sighed in relief while others were still confused. Chinese Whispers began, media headlines rolled out and before you knew it, residents were divided into various batches of delusion. Evidently, while the TRA and Etisalat agreed on a ‘grace period’ extension, it seems that du had not. Which as you would expect had people rushing to the outlets in panic.

“It’s only 11 am and we have already had 200 people come through to get their cards registered,” said a member of staff at the du shop in Ibn Battuta Mall to The National. “A lot of the people are worried that their phones will be blocked if they do not register today.”

As much as I would loved to have been at all the outlets at once; I did notice the du outlet at Ibn Battuta and the state of the line was not a pretty sight. The reality is that, because of the confusion over the deadlines, thousands of subscribers could be facing disconnection today. Am I venting? Certainly not.



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