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The UAE generally leads the Middle East Arab countries in ICT rankings, with a well-developed and technologically advanced telecom sector and high levels of mobile, telephone, and broadband penetration. Fixed-line competition, however, has been slow to develop, but this will begin to change in 2016 as a result of the fixed network sharing agreement introduced in late 2015.
The UAE has two fixed network and mobile operators: the original incumbent Etisalat and operator du, which launched services in February 2007. With the prospect of competition, Etisalat reduced its charges to some extent, but a failure to implement network sharing restricted both operators geographically du had a monopoly in Dubai's free trade zones, while Etisalat had a monopoly elsewhere. In October 2015 however, the TRA announced fixed network sharing had finally been implemented across the country with both operators now able to offer and market services in locations previously withheld.
Etisalat is one of the most profitable telecom organisations in the region; it is a large contributor to UAE's economic development (after petroleum) and one of the largest companies in the Middle East. Besides being the incumbent telco in the UAE, Etisalat operates in several other African and Asian countries.
This report provides a concise overview, backed by statistics, of the telecoms market, the regulatory background, and the fixed-line sector.
Du is demonstrating a keen interest in developing 5G technology; The UAE finally has a fixed network sharing agreement in place; Etisalat attributes around 30% of its mobile services revenue to its growing mobile data stream; Service bundling has become a popular way to attract and retain customers.
Companies covered in this report:
Etisalat; du; Yahsat
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