• Until last month, Du’s non-mobile services are limited only to newer areas in Dubai
  • Number of consumers that can switch each month is capped due to capacity constraints

The UAE’s second telecoms operator Du has now started offering its fixed line services to nationwide consumers.

This development follows years of lobbying by Du, whose non-mobile services such as broadband internet, fixed-line and television packages were only previously available in newer areas in Dubai such as Tecom and the Dubai Marina.

The development is a game-changer since it will open up [competition in] the entire country, according to Du chief executive Osman Sultan in a report filed by Reuters. Sultan said the deal will help protect Du’s mobile business, as customers reportedly seek for a single telecoms services provider. It could also help boost revenues.

The fixed line consumer market, however, is a low-profit business and would not necessarily make a major impact to Du’s profits. The operator’s second quarter profit declined by about $12m compared to the corresponding period last year. Du estimates its share of the current fixed line market in the UAE at 15 per cent.

Not everyone who wishes to switch providers may be able to do so all at once. The number of customers that can switch providers per month is capped primarily due to capacity constraints and the volume of consumers that can do switch each month has not been specified. The overall provision, however, is to steadily increase the capacity and the number of consumers that can switch from one operator to the other.

As well as fixed-line, consumers can also switch their internet subscription between Etisalat and Du. the option to switch television package provider, hoverer, will not be added until 2016.

Du ended Etisalat’s mobile telecoms monopoly in 2007. While they compete on services, they share common shareholders and are both part-owned by the Emirates Investment Authority.