Du withdraws grace period for bill payments

The rule is effective 1 June (SUPPLIED)

Dubai-based UAE telecom operator du has said that it is withdrawing the grace period it used to offer customers for bill payment, and has warned that it will disconnect services immediately if customers fail to pay their bills by the due date.

In a rather sweetly worded SMS alert, the operator said it used to give customers an additional 10 days from the due date to make payments.

However, it noted that owing to it developing its payment channels, customers who do not pay by the due date on the bill risk service disruption.

“Hello! We all know that everyone forgets a payment once in a while, it happens [sic!],” reads the operator’s text message. “We don’t want your services to be interrupted, so we need to tell you about a small change in the bill payment timing,” it says. “In the past, we gave you an extra 10 days from your due date before we took any action,” the text message adds.

“Now that we have developed an extensive range of payment channels, we trust that you will make a payment by the due date to avoid interruption of services,” it warns. “This change is effective from June 1,” says the SMS received on June 2, 2011.

The operator announced yesterday that it had signed a three-year financing deal for $220m (Dh808.5m) to help it repay a Dh3bn debt that becomes due for repayment on June 30. “Some of the loan facility will be used to repay the existing Dh3b loan that becomes due at the end of June, and the rest will be used to fund our ongoing investment,” Osman Sultan, CEO of du, said in a statement posted on the Dubai bourse website.

He added that du was embarking on the “next phase” of its development, and that the financing the firm has been arranging over the past year will be deployed to that effect. “The financial arrangements put in place over the past year, including the rights issue that was oversubscribed last June; the strategic vendor financing agreements; and this club loan facility, have all provided du with significant capital that will be deployed to facilitate our transition as we mature into the next phase of our development,” he said.

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