Telecom sector selloff not on govt's agenda

ABU DHABI — Minister for Government Sector Development, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, yesterday made it clear that privatisation of telecom sector was not on government's immediate agenda.

By Haseeb Haider

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Published: Wed 14 Jun 2006, 10:09 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:24 PM

Speaking to reporters, yesterday, after signing an MoU with Korea's Minister for ICT for fostering cooperation between the two countries, the minister said that government is committed to the liberalisation of the telecom sector by 2015, under commitments made to World Trade Organisation (WTO).

To a question on US demands on opening up of telecom sector as part of the free trade agreement, Al Mansoori said that any free trade agreement must be a 'win win situation' and benefit to all stakeholders.

"We seek a balanced trade agreement with any country whereby interest of both sides are protected, not the one which is one sided....we have done our necessary homework, the measure is in line with the pragmatic policies of this government", the minister said.

Al Mansoori said the government wants to regularise the telecommunications market in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) recommendations, and chalks out a bilateral free trade agreement with the USA Australia.

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, who is also Chairman of the Supreme Committee for the Supervision of the Telecommunications Sector said: "The ICT and telecommunications sector in the UAE has developed tremendously in the past three decades, and we are working towards market liberalisation to foster competition and innovation in the better interests of the economy. By agreeing to and implementing a number of facilitative measures, we are aiming for full yet non-disruptive liberalisation of this all important sector by 2015."

The UAE Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA), in consultation with UAE Telecom Supreme Committee, is developing necessary procedures for an orderly transit to free market principles. The transit procedure has brought on board long-term strategic planners as well as marketing experts and telecommunications representatives to ensure a long-term viable solution that contributes to the telecom sector's well-being.

Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director General of the TRA said that the UAE has pioneered exceptionally strong models of widespread telecommunications provision, and are committed to speedily progress to future paradigms of service delivery. In this regard, market liberalisation will help foster a culture of innovation by introducing competition and maintaining a level playing field for providers to woo customers by providing superior services. We are working closely with several partners with the help of UAE Telecom Supreme Committee to assure a standard set of applicable procedures, policies and directives applicable to the UAE. Our efforts will bear full fruit by 2015, by which time we hope to herald in a fully matured market with a diversity of key players contributing to rapid growth."

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