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Breaking the du-opoly

Breaking the du-opoly

Broadband is up to fourteen times more expensive in the UAE compared with other markets. But an expected price war between telcos Etisalat and du could save consumers serious money.

January 26, 2010 1:57 by

But this could change. For it emerged today that the UAE’s telecoms regulator plans to deregulate the market, and allow Etisalat and du to set their own prices.

Currently, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) must approve all pricing and promotions – a process that can, according to a report in The National newspaper, take between five to nine days. “Analysts said [this] would be a boon for consumers but reduce the revenues of Etisalat and du,” said the newspaper.

The TRA regulations were originally set to prevent a price war between the two operators. However, it is expected that Etisalat and du will now be allowed to compete freely.

While it would be easy to assume that Etisalat and du did not object too strongly to the TRA regulations, the two operators did actually make several requests to the authority to lower prices. Sometimes, these requests were rejected without justification by the TRA.

Kipp understands that Etisalat and du have not yet been officially notified of the new policy, which is not being implemented immediately. And they are keeping tight-lipped on what pricing reductions could come. And so it remains to be seen whether UAE consumers will enjoy AED45 a month broadband anytime soon.

NEXT PAGE: How UAE broadband rates compare with those in India, the UK and US

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  1. AmirAce on January 26, 2010 3:25 pm

    The prices of UAE telecom are ridiculous. Unfortunately we cannot do anything about it. Instead of protecting consumers interest TRA was formed to protect Etisalat’s revenues.

    I believe Etisalat makes around AED1.5 billion per quarter in profits. Introduction of DU has done nothing.

  2. TonyV on January 27, 2010 8:09 am

    Nothing will change. All that will happen is Etisilat and DU will sit down together and agree a price for all their broadband prices and charges. This changes nothing.
    What needs to happen is for more international companies being allowed into the UAE to compete on an ‘equal playing field’, which will create more competition and therefore benefit the consumer as well as the companies in question. This is why Broadband charges are so reasonable in the UK. However, alas this is of course is a ‘pipe dream’.

  3. Loree on January 27, 2010 11:46 am

    Businesses in Dubai Media City are basically held hostage to DU in terms of rates and services — it is even worse that the du-opoly outside the freezones because you cannot even switch between DU and Etisalat in Dubai Media City freezone. Here, it is a DU-monopoly.

  4. Sam Dubai on January 27, 2010 2:04 pm

    I think that DU uses the Etislat network so I doubt they would undercut DU’s pricing.

    keep dreaming.

  5. Lance Voix on January 28, 2010 11:13 am

    Its Incredible, du actually built the infrastructure in the marina and emirats living to provide 100mpbs to subscribers, back in 2002 but due to the lack of competition the prices were set the same as Etisalats and most people are only getting 512 or a 1meg, because they can’t justify spending any more. Also, its odd that over 7 years the prices have not even slightly reduced.

    Its high time the TRA did its job properly and worked for the consumers and not the operators. There is still no free competition on the fixed side. I tought that the WTO set dwon ruling that te U.A.E must liberalise its market, seems like the WTO has been fooled.

  6. Jola Chudy on March 4, 2010 7:25 am

    One problem is that many areas are serviced by either one or the other provider, but not both. For example, in Old Town, the only option is to get Du, so even if prices were lowered, many consumers would still not have a choice. I think the only way that’s going to happen is if private telecoms companies are allowed to enter the market.


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