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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 Ben Flanagan
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.