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AFTER 5-YEAR DELAY

Mobile number portability in UAE by Dec

Dubai, October 21, 2013

The United Arab Emirates will allow mobile phone number portability by December, its telecoms regulator said on Monday, more than five years after the service was meant to be introduced to boost competition in the state-controlled sector.

Number portability would allow customers of rival operators Etisalat and du to switch providers and keep the same phone number.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) had said this would be introduced by mid-2008, but the service has been repeatedly delayed, with the regulator citing technical issues.

The TRA will now introduce number portability by December, it said in a statement on Monday.

Du ended Etisalat's domestic monopoly in 2007, though both companies are majority owned by state-linked institutions and analysts say that competition between the two is relatively benign compared with other markets in the Gulf and Europe.

Du had a 47 percent share of the UAE's mobile subscribers at the end of June, according to its second-quarter results.

Du and Etisalat have yet to agree a deal to allow competition in fixed-line services, more than four years after negotiations began. The two companies already offer fixed-line, broadband and television packages in the UAE, but not in the same districts, with du largely confined to the newer areas of Dubai. - Reuters




Tags: Etisalat | TRA | phone |

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