The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced that fixed network sharing is now active across the country, allowing Etisalat and Du to share infrastructure and market their services in new locations previously only served by their rival. Du has confirmed that UAE residents looking to switch provider could be up and running on its network within seven days. The launch comes after some six years of negotiations between the regulator and the two telcos.
‘It’s an excellent step that we are giving the customer the opportunity to choose,’ The National quoted Majed Al Mesmar, deputy director general of the TRA, as saying. ‘The quality of service being offered will definitely change. Those who ignore it will lose customers now that the other operator has the same chance.’
The network sharing agreement does not yet, however, cover pay-TV services, meaning those customers on multi-play packages which include TV are unlikely to be switching their voice and internet provider as this would see them losing their bundled discount. It is expected that the deal will be expanded to include pay-TV services by end-2016.
Separately, Du has announced an expansion to its partnership with UK-based Vodafone Group which covers machine-to-machine (M2M) services for UAE businesses. The telco says the partnership enables it to offer enhanced M2M services to enterprises looking to implement Internet of Things (IoT) services by pairing its local market knowledge with Vodafone’s M2M platform and expertise. Du says it will initially focus on connected car opportunities such as enhanced safety, connecting drivers with garages and emergency services, and in-car infotainment. mHealth applications for M2M will also be explored to improve remote care for patients and bring greater efficiencies for healthcare providers.