"We have four broad segments of subscribers — individual consumer, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), commercial organisations, government departments and there would be sub-segments like doctors, students, labourers etc," said Ahmed Abdul Karim Julfar, Chief Operating Officer and Acting CEO of Etisalat, while talking to reporters on the sidelines of the three-day telelcommunication exhibition and summit here yesterday.
He said that the tariff would be in accordance with the usage of the telecom services by different segments of subscribers. To a question, Julfar said that Etisalat is providing several telecom services much below their actual cost as a public service. There are many offerings which were being subsidised with less tariffs to benefit subscribers. For instance, local calls are free of charge, which is billed in most of the countries. Same was the case with telephone directory service, which was revised to Dh1 per minute from 0.30 fils per call. In a phased manner these tariffs on free local calls and call centre services would be rationalised, according to the instructions of Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). Already rental on fixed telephone connections for commercial subscribers has been hiked. Sharing the reason behind the hike, the chief operating officer said that Etisalat provides a hefty 25 per cent discount to these bulk subscribers on international calls. Julfar called the rationalisation of tariff as 'rebalancing'.
"We are working on a service costing formula these days, once it is finalised, it would be submitted to the telecom watch dog TRA for approval and subsequent implementation."
Commenting on the speculations on the third mobile operator and its need, he said that TRA has issued its policy statement, by denying it categorically to put a full stop on it. However, on the need for a third operator, Etisalat's Chief Operating Officer was of the view that though there is no need it for the time being, but there could be some room for it three or four years down the road.
To a question on high cost of telephony, he argued that the telephony in the UAE is still cheaper than many countries in the region, in terms of its efficiency and quality, when measured in the context of market size and purchasing power. " We can not compare the telephone tariffs in India and Pakistan-which have huge consumer base compared with the UAE, a market of four million consumers", he said. In many countries he continued, the tariffs may seem attractive but one must match them with the quality and efficiency of service also.
Responding to a question on the provision of latest technologies like Wi-Max and other wireless based internet services, Julfar said that very soon his company would provide a nation-wide high quality service under which a high speed internet, cable TV and fixed telephone service would hook-up the subcribers through an optic fibre cable."We would ensure that a domestic subscriber gets a minimum of 25 MB speed package, while the commercial subcribers would have an access to unlimited speed, making the services cost effective, efficient and reliable," said Ahmed Abdul Karim Julfar.
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The system is in line with the country’s climate adaptation programme with a people-centred approach