The UAE’s telecoms regulator, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), is considering introducing a new licensing framework for the sector which would allow third-party licensing of managed services, also known as class licensing, Zawya reports. According to the TRA’s director general, Mohamed Al Ghanim, the issue ‘has been looked at very carefully’ as part of a new competition framework and a new national roadmap for the telecoms sector. Managed services could include the provision of services through text messaging and other value added services, he noted. ‘The more we have competition in this area, the more businesses will flourish,’ Al Ghanim stated, although the official stressed that the TRA has no plans to allow third parties to compete with national operators Etisalat and Du to offer full telecoms services.
To that end the regulator stated that it does not intend to license a third national service provider in the next two to three years: ‘We do not want to upset the process of revival of the telecoms industry from the impacts of the financial crisis. The two telecoms operators [Etisalat and Du] are investing heavily in infrastructure and we do not want to inhibit this process by adding a third operator,’ Al Ghanim stated. Al Ghanim also revealed that consumers would soon be able to choose between Etisalat and Du for fixed line services: ‘They [the operators] are working on it, we hope by mid-year we will see competition in internet and voice, and in IPTV by the end of the year.’