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A great telephonic leapfrog… backwards

A great telephonic leapfrog… backwards

Telecoms operator du launched a new prepaid landline tariff today. The news may prompt many UAE residents to ask, ‘what’s a landline?’

February 3, 2010 3:32 by

Whatever you think about the extortionate mobile and broadband charges in the UAE, there is one positive thing about local telecoms market: the 3G network is relatively advanced.

The reason for this is that – due to the very recent, and very rapid development of the UAE – there was no cumbersome fixed-line or extensive first-generation mobile network to dismantle. Because it bloomed so late, the UAE was able to ‘leapfrog’ ahead and install a mobile network on par with – or better than – those found in many developed countries.

And so it’s surprising that du, the UAE’s second telecoms operator, has announced a new tariff for landline users. For many residents could be forgiven for asking, ‘what’s a landline’?

Well, it’s that thing you use at work. Relatively few residents use a fixed-line phone at home, perhaps because there’s nothing ‘fixed’ about the UAE’s transient, youthful population.

So, is the launch of the ‘Homephone Recharge’ service a case of ‘two steps forward, one step back’? Perhaps.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Given the relative lack of competition between the UAE’s two phone operators, Etisalat and du, anything that represents a cheaper option will be beneficial for consumers.

This could be the first battle in the predicted price war between the two operators. Last month, the local telecoms authority announced that it would deregulate the market, so that Etisalat and du no longer have to seek permission before changing their prices.

Kipp eagerly awaits the next battle in this war. Hopefully, it will prompt another ‘leapfrog’ – to a future age of reasonable broadband charges.

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