The long awaited plans for network sharing between the UAE’s two telecoms operators the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) and the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (Du) is due to commence in the second half this year.

“We are at the final stages we will go into pilot in the next couple of weeks to test what we have in terms of building and constructing, so hopefully the service will be available by the end of the second half of this year,” says Farid Faraidooni, chief commercial officer at Du.

This will impact the broadband and landline services in the country. Currently Du is limited to offering its fixed-line services to a few areas in Dubai. Opening up the networks to both operators is likely to increase competition between the two in one of the least competitive telecoms markets in the region.

Du has signed a three-year contract with US vendor Cisco for network support and optimisation services, to support existing and future network infrastructure growth. The contract has been financed through terms arranged by Cisco Capital (Dubai) and provides Du with a total cost of ownership over three years.