Monday, April 27, 2009

UAE: Etisalat claims that the cost of upgrading its network for CPS is unjustified when it plans to convert to fibre in the near future

[The National] Etisalat is reluctant to implement the change, which would allow customers to switch their phone lines from Etisalat to du, its main rival.

Etisalat has said the cost of upgrading its network to allow competition in the landline telephone market is “unjustified”, and represents an unfair burden on the company’s finances.

Last month, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) fined the company Dh200,000 for failing to complete the upgrade of its network to allow carrier pre-selection, a service that lets customers switch their phone line from Etisalat to du, its main rival.

“The upgrades requested by the TRA represent an additional cost for the company at a time when all organisations are working carefully to restrict operational spending to avoid the indirect effects of the global economic crisis on revenues,” the company said in a statement.

The company said some of the older equipment in its network – due to be replaced as part of the transition to the national fibre-optic network currently being deployed – cannot be upgraded to enable the new system, and would need to be replaced entirely.

“This replacement requires a large and unjustified budget, especially with the availability of other alternatives such as the special free dialling code and device,” Etisalat said.

Etisalat customers can currently choose to redirect their calls through the du network by dialling a special code before making each call, or by using a special attachment that connects to the phone line and re-routes calls.

Etisalat fined over failure to upgrade network

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