The UAE’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) has approved plans to introduce number portability (NP) for mobile users in early 2010, Gulf News reports, citing Arabic daily Al Ittihad. An official at the regulator said that the implementation of NP should increase competition between Etisalat and Du, the market’s two wireless network operators, enabling subscribers to switch provider while retaining their original number. However, the service will only be available for customers who have been with their service provider for a year or more.
In a separate story, Etisalat’s CFO, Salem al-Sharhan, told Reuters that the telco is finalising a bond programme, which could see its first USD500 million tranche sold by early 2010 at the latest to help finance overseas expansion. The programme would enable the firm to sell both Islamic and conventional bonds, Sharhan said, adding that no banks had yet been mandated for the sale.