5 Feb 2010
The UAE’s second national telecoms operator Du has said it plans to offer the first set of fixed line services over shared infrastructure with sole rival and dominant operator Etisalat by July, the Khaleej Times reports. ‘Our talks on sharing infrastructure with Etisalat and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) are progressing well,’ revealed Farid Faraidooni, CCO at Du, adding, ‘We will conclude the talks by the end of the first quarter and [are] likely to execute the projects by June this year.’ He went on to say that the company will be able to launch the first set of services based on shared infrastructure sometime in July. It is hoped that sharing infrastructure will help encourage competition, improve service quality and lower the country’s fixed telephony and broadband tariffs, which are said to be amongst the highest in the region. At present, Du is not permitted to access Etisalat’s nationwide network, but is allowed to provide broadband services to the free economic zones of Dubai, called ‘New Dubai’. The telco inherited the fibre-optic infrastructure in these developments from Sahm Technologies, which was subsequently taken over by Tecom Investments, the government body responsible for a 20% shareholding in Du. Faraidooni also revealed that Du will invest over AED2 billion (USD544 million) in the expansion and development of its fixed and mobile networks in 2010, down slightly from the AED2.4 billion invested last year.