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[February 11, 2013]
It is time TRA gets with the programmes [Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)]
(Gulf News (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) In the past week, this newspaper has highlighted that quietly, without much fanfare or upscale marketing campaign, both etisalat and du have launched VoIP services. This is a welcome step, one that was long overdue.
The new VoIP services force customers to buy pre-paid cards, allowing them access to telephone numbers on both networks from which calls can be made at reduced costs to international numbers. However, while the VoIP service is a welcome first step, there is still a long way to go. The VoIP cards merely offer calls at a slightly discounted rates.
The launch of BlackBerry's Z10 yesterday across the UAE highlights a far more pressing need. Smartphones, whether from Apple, Android-based or from BlackBerry, come with programmes that allow free international calling. In the case of Z10, retailers blamed the smartphone's delayed launch on the fact that it comes with BBM Voice and Video services. Despite selecting Dubai for a high-profile launch, BlackBerry was forced to launch their latest device in the UAE without some of its signature services. Previous BlackBerry smartphones were forced to remove those services to comply with UAE regulations. The reality is that most owners of smartphones, regardless of the operating system, know how to obtain workarounds, circumventing regulations that are in place to protect the du and etisalat duopoly on long-distance calling.
Simply put, with the forward march of technology, the rules put in place by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority are untenable and unsustainable.
What is actually needed is a realistic business choice. Du, etisalat and the TRA need to and this is literally the case get with the programmes.
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