Du confirms network sharing will happen before year-end [Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)]
(Gulf News (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dubai
The network sharing agreement with etisalat will happen before the end of this year as most of the issues are tackled, said Othman Sultan, chief executive of du, on Thursday.
He was speaking on the sidelines of The Telecom Leaders' Summit 2014 hosted by Samena telecommunications council and taking place in Dubai.
Etisalat said last month that the long-delayed network infrastructure sharing deal for fixed line services is very likely to happen by year-end.
The talks between the operators began in 2009 but they were not able to reach an agreement on bitstream access, where one operator can permit the other to use its fixed network for a fee.
Fixed network sharing was initially planned to be enabled by the end of 2011 so that both etisalat and du can eye each other's market share.
Today there is no competition in the fixed services sector, Sultan said and added that the situation has been identified by the regulator in the UAE — Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
"There have been some issues on both sides. This discussion has been completed and most of the issues have been tackled. In 2015, we will able to offer different services over fixed network sharing," he said.
According to industry experts, du is likely to offer only voice calls in the beginning but the television and data services at a later stage.
When asked, Sultan gave no further comments.
"We will have a detailed discussion at a later stage," he said.
Mohammad Al Ganim, director general of TRA of UAE, said that the discussion has taken a "long time" but it is finished now.
"Both the operators have done trials for more than 100 customers in fixed line sector," he said on the sidelines of The Telecom Leaders' Summit 2014 hosted by Samena telecommunications council and taking place in Dubai on Thursday.
Samena is a tri-regional, non-profit association that represents 40 telecom operators in 25 markets.
"The primary motivation behind the discussion is to identify areas of further business growth and means to sustain investment in the future through smart regulations," said Bocar A. BA, CEO of Samena.
The council is bringing in industry stakeholders, including governments, telecom operators and internet players among others with initiatives to help share experience in cooperation.
"Today, the regional ICT [Information and communications technology] industry is on the threshold of a digital revolution and this meeting will provide an opportunity to exchange ideas and cooperate on industry issues to be able to help identify solutions with far-reaching benefits," Bocar said.
"Our ICT sector is evolving, transforming and we will be facing huge challenges," he said.
Hamadoun Toure, secretary general of International Telecommunication Union, said that the Middle East is on right track in ICT development and there is still an investment opportunity of $300 billion in the region.
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