11 Feb 2015
Dubai-based telecoms operator Du says it has reached a long-delayed fixed network sharing deal with sole rival Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), and the agreement should be effective by the end of the year. Reuters cites Du’s chairman, Ahmad Bin Byat, as saying that fixed line network sharing is ‘just a matter of a couple of months I guess at the maximum. The agreement is in place, the legality has been sorted out.’ Byat blamed the delay on technical issues in making the operators’ networks compatible. ‘It took longer than expected,’ he said. ‘What is important for us … is to make sure they [customers] get a better experience than today.’ Network sharing will break the monopolies held by Du and Etisalat within their respective areas by giving consumers nationwide the choice of operator for their fixed line voice and broadband services. Du is primarily restricted to the new development areas and free zones of Dubai, while Etisalat serves the rest of the UAE market. The pair first began discussing the issue in 2009 and a trial bitstream service with selected customers was launched in July 2011, but failure to agree the terms of network sharing have long-delayed its full implementation.