Residents across the UAE will be able to subscribe to a prepaid service on their existing landlines to avail international calling at rates as low as one fil per second, said du yesterday.
The service will be offered to both etisalat and du fixed- line subscribers as an add-on pack without affecting the existing packages consumers have with the operators, Farid Faraidooni, Chief Commercial Officer of du, told Emirates Business.
"We are creating an offering that gives value to the customer and us," said Faraidooni, adding: "Since we started du, we have always committed that we would go to market with innovative solutions and value products. This is just a continuation [of our strategy]. We want to go beyond providing basic services."
Faraidooni clarified the service was being offered through the interconnection pact it shares with etisalat, called Carrier Select, and therefore there would be no revenue sharing with their competitor for calls logged from etisalat landlines. "This service is based on Carrier Select that allows either customer to switch to the other network for a specific purpose. There will be no revenue share," he said.
Speaking about the obstacles faced in implementing this unique offering, Faraidooni told this newspaper that the operator faced no real challenges on the technology and integration fronts.
"The real challenge will be in helping consumers understand the service. In this region, we are used to prepaid services mobiles. This is very unique and hasn't been tried in any other region, so the difficulty is to make them understand how to use a prepaid service for landlines," he said.
To increase awareness and grow subscriber numbers for the service, du will launch a traditional national media campaign today across print, outdoor, radio and web platforms. However, the telecom operator will also adopt a more aggressive, countrywide, one-to-one awareness interaction with residents through the strategic placement of product executives in malls and high streets, he said.
The new prepaid service coming into effect today offers 'one world one rate' tariff, which provides competitive international call rates from fixed landlines. Specially-designed homephone recharge cards will work on any home landline in the UAE, regardless of the provider, and will be made available in the denominations of Dh20, 50, 100, 200 and 500.
Through this service, customers will be able to call 190 destinations at rates varying from one fil to three fils a second. Customers will pay one fil per second during the night daily (9pm to 9am), including Fridays and three fils per second during the day (9am to 9pm). A rate of 1.5 fils per second has been set for Fridays from 9am to 9pm.
To activate the service, subscribers need to call 800135 from any home landline. Activation will only take a few seconds. Upon activation, subscribers will receive Dh5 as instant free credit. To make calls, subscribers will have to dial the prefix 08888 before the number they wish to call.
"After your first-time activation, you will basically have a wallet on your landline. Every time you want to make an international call, you simply dial the prefix and the intended number. Readers must note that by adding this service to your landline you are not deactivating your existing line. That continues as it is and you continue with your existing line and monthly subscription," said Faraidooni.
This implies that customers can continue to use their landlines for free calls to other landlines within the country and simply switch to this service when they choose to avail for cheaper international calling rates.
Customers, who prefer postpaid monthly plans, can sign up for the Homephone postpaid service with du. Postpaid subscribers will receive a free 08888-dialler device, which will be attached to the landline telephone and connect to the service automatically, without the need to dial the 08888 prefix manually.
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