UAE residents to get television service choice in 9-12 months, says du chief

The UAE’s two telecom operators will launch competition in fixed-line business and television services within 9-12 months, the chief executive of du said on Monday.

Du and rival Etisalat are both ultimately majority-owned by state institutions and the UAE has been slow to permit competition in the lucrative home telecoms market.

In July, the two operators began allowing consumers to choose between them for fixed phone line and broadband services, du chief executive Osman Sultan said the following month.

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Yet television services are still provided on a de facto monopoly basis, with each operator the sole supplier in differing districts and du largely confined to the newer areas of Dubai.

Consumers will be able to choose their television service provider within 9-12 months, Mr Sultan told a news conference on Monday, predicting business customers will be able to switch broadband and fixed phone-line supplier within the same timeframe.

Negotiations to allow competition in fixed line and broadband took six years, while television and business broadband require a more complicated form of network sharing and is taking even longer to arrange, he said.

Du’s share of fixed services revenue was about 15 per cent, Mr Sultan estimated in August.

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