No plan for new mobile service provider: TRA

The UAE has no plans to allow the operation of a third mobile phone service provider on the grounds the market can not afford it for the time being, according to the country’s telecommunications regulatory authority (TRA).

“TRA is not planning to give a licence to a new mobile phone service operator at present because the market is already saturated,” TRA Director-General Mohammed Al-Ghanem told the semi official daily 'Al Ittihad' on Thursday.

“We now have a mobile phone penetration rate or nearly 208 per cent, which is one of the highest in the world. We realise very well the requirements of the local market, which does not need a news telecom company given the sufficient services provided by etisalat and du.”

Ghanem’s figures showed the total mobile phone lines in the UAE peaked at 10.65 million at the end of June. Nearly 90 per cent of them are pre-pay subscribers, totalling about 9.6 million, he said.

He said TRA is currently focusing on covering the whole UAE with fibre optics services, which he described as a “real revolution” in the fixed lines sector.

“These types of networks can ensure high speed internet services of 100 mega per second, which will open the door for unlimited applications and technological solutions for both individuals and companies,” he said.

Ghanem put the number of landline phone users at 1.54 million at the end of May, with a penetration rate of 29.1 per cent.

He said broadband internet services increased by around five per cent to 748,681 at the end of June from 703,520 at the end of 2009 to record the highest growth in the UAE’s telecommunications sector in the first half of 2010.

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