UAE telecom firms Du, Etisalat slash GCC roaming charges

Dubai-based UAE telco Du will reduce its roaming rates in the GCC from tomorrow (Friday), in line with the earlier announcement made by the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Secretariat General to reduce roaming rates across the six nations.

Amongst Du’s lower rates, roaming customers will only be charged Dh0.95 per minute for all local calls made within the visited GCC country, Dh0.29 for all sent text messages while roaming, whilst data roaming will cost customers Dh4.77 per MB for both prepaid and postpaid customers, the operator said in a statement today (Thursday).

Read: GCC slashes roaming rates for calls, SMS and mobile data services

The discount on standard rates will be 2 per cent on outgoing roaming voice calls to any GCC country and 5 per cent on outgoing roaming calls within the local destination, as per data shared by Du.

Etisalat too will follow the same pricing pattern, Emirates 24|7 has learnt.

Like its Dubai-based peer, customers of the Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat too will see the biggest savings in roaming text messages and data services. Users can exppect a saving of 76 per cent on outgoing SMS (roaming) and up to 90 per cent on roaming data usage for prepaid and post-paid customers.

Emirates 24|7 has learnt that Etisalat's new tariffs from tomorrow (April 1) will be Dh2.35/min for intra-GCC outgoing roaming calls, Dh0.955/min for roaming calls within the destination country, Dh0.294 per roaming SMS and Dh4.774/MB data roaming charges. 

Last week, GCC member states announced their decision to apply reduced roaming rates for voice calls, outgoing text messages (SMS), and mobile data services as of April 1, 2016.

“'An average 40 per cent cut will be in effect in the first phase of new reduction rates. Incoming SMS application will remain free,”  Abdullah bin Juma Al Shibli, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs of the Secretariat of the GCC, said, noting that mobile phone users in GCC member states could save up to $1.13 billion, boosting social welfare by $404 million.

The du rate reduction will amount to 2 per cent while making roaming intra-GCC calls and 5 per cent for roaming calls made within the destination country.

“This announcement is a step that will enrich the bond between all GCC countries by boosting tourism and business in parallel,” said Fahad Al Hassawi, Chief Commercial Officer, du.

The new unified rates aim to get users to retain their original number while roaming, instead of purchasing a new local sim at each destination within the GCC.

“A GCC technical team will monitor these prices regularly and submit recommendations to the GCC Ministerial Committee Ministerial Committee for Post, Telecommunications and Information Technology. A mechanism has been set up to gather data on a regular basis to update decision-makers on changes taking place in the roaming services market and ensure efficient control,” Al Shibli had said last week.

du added that its roaming customers can also benefit from roaming data packs with the firm’s preferred partners across the world (including GCC).

Pack details as follows:

  • 100MB data for 24 hours at a cost of Dh50
  • 1GB data  for 7 days at a cost of Dh200
  • 1GB data for 30 days at a cost of Dh500