The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the United Arab Emirates has fined Etisalat for blocking text messages from Du detailing information on how to switch to the rival operator when mobile number portability (MNP) is introduced next month. Du launched a publicity campaign urging people to send an SMS to a specific number to receive information relating to MNP, but Reuters cites a statement from the watchdog as saying that Etisalat blocked the number from around 21 November, preventing its subscribers from receiving Du’s response. The TRA ordered Etisalat to lift the block on 22 November and yesterday issued a ‘Violation Decision’ against the operator for failing to do so. The regulator also told Reuters that it had fined Etisalat, but declined to reveal how much, adding that the block was now removed.
Last month CommsUpdate reported that the long-awaited introduction of MNP would finally take place by the end of the year, helping to increase competition in the mobile market. Etisalat is the mobile market leader with around 8.26 million subscribers at the end of September 2013 (a share of 54.5%), although Du is not far behind the incumbent with a customer base of over 6.89 million at the same date (45.5%).