Etisalat reports millionth 3G customer

17 May 2007

United Arab Emirates incumbent cellco Etisalat has reported its 3G subscriber base has broken the one million barrier. In February, the telecom provider removed its subscription fee to access 3G services such as web browsing, video calling and mobile TV, and began automatically registering users with 3G phones. Etisalat first introduced W-CDMA based services in late 2003, and began upgrading its network with 3.5G high speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) technology two years later, but take-up was initially slow, reaching an estimated 300,000 by the end of 2006. Rival cellco du has not released its 3G figures, but a spokesman said, ‘All 3G services have received a level of response that has exceeded our expectations.’ Both operators charge 3G subscribers based on usage alone. The waiving of Etisalat’s subscription fee to the service has clearly been a factor in the 233% increase in sign-ups since the end of last year.