Etisalat and Du, the United Arab Emirates’ two fixed line service providers, have implemented an infrastructure sharing agreement allowing customers to switch between the operators. The agreement, which took effect on 14 July, has initially seen the two telcos implement a small-scale ‘soft-launch’, although full availability is anticipated in due course. Customers can change fixed line and broadband provider under the deal, but IPTV services will not be included in the agreement until 2016. Previously, Du and Etisalat were limited to offering fixed line telephony and broadband services in separate districts.
Gulf News cites Du CEO Osman Sultan as saying: ‘We have started a progressive and controlled launch of network sharing for three months. We have a set of numbers where customers can switch between the operators before opening the taps later’. He asserts that the move will help to protect Du’s mobile business as subscribers seek one telco to provide all of their telecoms services, while noting that the move will not have a huge impact on its profits, because of the low margins generated by the company’s fixed line business.