Regulator to test networks

17 Apr 2007

UAE regulator the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is to evaluate the coverage and quality of Etisalat and Du, the country’s two mobile networks, saying it may require the former to invest in improving its mobile network after completing a study to find gaps in coverage. ‘Maintaining a healthy mobile network is a challenge, operators need to continuously adapt to changes in their cellular network that may affect its performance by means of optimisation and network monitoring,’ said Saif Bin Ghelaita, Manager of Wireless Networks and Services at the TRA. ‘The cellular network works like a mesh where one site can affect a larger area containing several sites…Etisalat will have to improve coverage in these areas,’ he added. The TRA will release findings of the study and consult Etisalat on how to improve coverage. The TRA’s plan is to test network coverage every three months. Du’s mobile network coverage will be tested at a later date. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, former monopoly Etisalat ended 2006 with 5.5 million subscribers, of which 825,000 took 3G services.

Meanwhile Etisalat has reported a 1Q 2007 net profit of AED1.84 billion (USD501 million), up 37.3% from the 1Q 2006 figure of AED1.34 billion, and outstripping analysts’ forecasts that profits would range between AED1.46 billion and AED1.83 billion.