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End-users to gain from telecom liberalisation

Salah Eldin Eltayeb And Issac John
Filed on April 14, 2004

DUBAI - Dr Rashid Al Suwaidi, Computer Technologies expert, Chairman of Al Suwaidi Trading Group, said: "The end-users of Etisalat services, whether Internet or telephones will be the real beneficiaries of the bold and timely initiative to liberalise the services."

"It is a very positive move to allow the presence of other private companies offering the same services as Etisalat, this will definitely stir competition in the market place which will result in a major reduction in prices," he said.

"The decision to allow more companies to enter into a competition with Etisalat will help our business to grow in terms of the quality services expected to be provided by the new competitors. As at now the Etisalat services are superb, yet more sophisticated and cheaper services are possible with more firms vying for business in the multi-million-dollar telecom sector."

"The implications of the long awaited move to liberalise telecommunication sector will be enormous on the entire businesses segment in the UAE and the surrounding regions. The UAE is now fully ready for the World Trade Organisation regimes in the telecom sector. It is essential that Etisalat takes the right step to be well prepared for from now for any foreign competition expected in the short future. Barriers and hurdles that impede the flow of foreign investments should be removed, and I guess Etisalat has started the burst which will spread in all other sectors very soon. It is a new era of the new economy in our country."

Dr Abdul Aziz Othman, Executive Director, Sudatel, Sudan Telecommunication said: "It is no surprise to me that Etisalat of the UAE came up with such a decision, the country has already taken strides towards the procession and implementation of privatisation in the energy and power sector."

"I thought very much that the UAE telecommunication sector would have come with the development sometimes earlier, but has just chosen the right time now after they have built up their stock markets and strengthen their trade and services sectors."

"We are quite delighted to see the rapid changes which will also affect our operations in Sudan. We in Sudan have gone far ahead in privatisation of our telecommunication sector with the government hardly owns 27 per cent of the total equity of $800 million."

"The telecom sector will be entirely privatised with less than two years after the Sudanese Government gradually sells its equity to the private sector," added Dr Othman.

Ismail Al Muhriz, Saudi national and partner of InfoSaus Technologies in Abu Dhabi, said," We always expected such development in a country like UAE with every thing running in a very smooth manner. Since we established our company five years a go in the UAE, we felt we have done the best thing in our business career, because this country has a lots of potential and a lot to grant to any serious businessman, be it small or major player."

"The move of liberalising the telecom sector is definitely going to help improving the connectivity and the e-commerce and all the Internet-based businesses and hence help us to run our business in much easier way than what it is at the present."

Khalid bin Butti Al Suwaidi, Executive Director, Al Massa Group said: "The liberalisation of the telecom sector will enhance the ability to generate more investment opportunities in the country and allow more of foreign direct investments. This will allow a better job opportunities for the UAE nationals and also contribute formidably in the overall growth of the UAE economy," said Dr Khalid. The decree issued on Sunday to liberalise the telecom sector will enhance the entire business.

Dr N.T Salwaji, IT Professor, MVM College of Technology, Australia said: "It was a very surprising matter to me, as I arrived in the country for the first time to be met with the great news of liberalisation of the telecom sector. People are quite optimistic and looking forward to see more liberalisation in other sectors. I have seen people talking about the possibility of changing the corporate laws and the ownership of properties in the region. These are great developments which will help the country grow in every aspect," said Dr Salwaji.

Kamal Vachani, Middle East Director of Electronics and Computer Software Promotion Council said: "The liberalistiaon of UAE's telecom sector will give a further major boost to the local telecommunictions industry, which is one of the most advanced in the region. Etisalat, which has been doing a remarkable service in a scenario where there was no competition, will now be more aggressive and innovative with its products and services. The entry of new players into the sector will not only benefit end-users but also go a long way to catapult UAE's worldclass telecom sector to further heights."

Jacob Paul, director of Hamiltons International said: "The UAE is one of the most vibrant and fast growing markets in the Middle East for mobile phones with the GSM penetration level remaining one of the highest in the world. The opening up of UAE's telecom sector, will therefore, spark a new phase of exponential growth for the sector. For the country's telecom subscribers, these reforms will usher in a whole new range of sophisticated services, including enhanced security and connectivity, while speeding up the evolution to e-business."

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