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UAE: Telecommunications

Telecommunications

There are 2 licensed telecommunication companies in in UAE.

In the United Arab Emirates, Federal Act No. 1 of 1976 establishes the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation as the sole telephone and telecommunications provider in the country, however Dubai's freezones and modern housing developments are exempt from this and utilize a separate telecommunications company, du.

The emergence of these 2 telecommunication companies supposedly spells the end of the monopoly of Etisalat in the UAE. However, for the majority of the UAE, Etisalat still has a monopoly on business and personal telecommunications services.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) requires Etisalat to actively censor Internet sites. Material deemed offensive, or "inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the United Arab Emirates", is usually blocked, as well as pornography and gambling sites. For speculated commercial reasons, there is also a total ban on internet telephony or VoIP, with Skype blocked. The TRA has released conflicting statements regarding when (if ever) the ban will be lifted.

More information on Etisalat

Etisalat
Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, also known as Etisalat (former Emirtel), is the incumbent telecommunications carrier and Internet Service Provider in the United Arab Emirates. Founded in 1976, it was the sole telecommunications services provider in the UAE until the arrival of Du in February 2007.

Etisalat provides a wide range of fixed and wireless telecommunications services, as well as cable TV services. As of January 2008, Etisalat is thought to operate over 33 million subscribers in 15 countries, following a spending spree of AED 30 billion in international acquisitions and investments, largely due to the loss of its virtual monopoly in the United Arab Emirates.

The telecom's wireless services coverage is claimed to reach 97% of UAE's territory. According to the official news agency of the United Arab Emirates (WAM),

Etisalat has been ranked by the Financial Times Global 500 among the world's largest corporations, currently taking the 444th spot (as of 2007). In September 2006 Forbes Arabia ranked it as the 6th largest company in the region in terms of market capitalization and revenues. The corporation is also a major contributor to the UAE's federal budget and is among the largest contributors (apart from the oil and gas sector) to development programs of the UAE Federal Government. Currently the operator pays 50% of its operational profits to the federal government as a royalty fee, although there are speculations that in future this figure could be reduced to 40%.

Services Provided by Etisalat

Etisalat has unrolled 3G network services in 2004 and has begun shitfing its partially aging infrastructure towards an IP-based NGN core. For home users, Etisalat provides dial-up, ISDN, cable and DSL Internet connectivity services. Etisalat's broadband connections are known as "Al Shamil" and offer speeds between 256kbit/s to 4Mbit/s.

Etisalat also operates iZone - a system of WiFi hotspots in central locations, such as retailing malls, restaurant and shisha cafes. iZone can be utilized by either purchasing prepaid cards, which offers access rates of AED 15/hour (about USD $4.5/hour), or if one holds an existing account with the operator, paying AED 3/hour (dial-up account holders), or AED 6/hour (broadband account holders).

Dial-up and ISDN Internet access services are billed by the hour, whereas the Domestic/Residential Cable and DSL connections have a fixed monthly rate depending on speed. Other Internet links, aimed at business users, have traffic utilization plans and relatively high rates when exceeding the allocated bandwidth quota. This has caused bad publicity for Etisalat and is a major source of criticism.

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Arabianbusiness.com - Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat)

* Vietnamese court Etisalat for mobile IPO
* Mergers ahead for Middle East telcos
* 61% think website controls too strict
* 1,000 'offensive' websites to be unblocked
* Etisalat aims to NeverFail with new disaster recovery service

More information on du

du - Logo

du is a telecommunications company in the in the United Arab Emirates. Legal name Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC) commercially rebranded as du in February 2006.

It is 40 percent owned by the UAE Federal Government, 20% by Mubadala Development Company, 20% by TECOM Investments and 20% by public shareholders. It is listed on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and trades under the name du.

Services Provided by Du

du currently provides fixed line, Internet and pay TV services over ethernet in some of the free zones of Dubai, following its purchase of TECOM Investments' telecom assets.

du launched its mobile service on February 11, 2007 with call tariffs almost identical to that of Etisalat, thus eliminating any possibility of a price war between the two incumbent UAE telcos. du now offers pay by the second where users pay 0.5 fils for every second
du features a SIM-AT menu called "MyWorld". Breaking news, the current headlines, or jokes and riddles in both English and Arabic can be accessed through this service for a small fee. It also includes "Smart Roaming" or just "Roaming" for quickly activating international roaming on your phone.

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Arabianbusiness.com - du

* du launches Unlimited Blackberry promotion
* 61% think website controls too strict
* 1,000 'offensive' websites to be unblocked
* Telecom duopoly to continue until 2012
* Du signs debut $817mn loan

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Latest page update: made by steph.siow , May 30 2008, 12:16 PM EDT (about this update About This Update steph.siow Edited by steph.siow

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