UAE Telecom Regulator Warns Etisalat, Du Against False Marketing

The TRA has cautioned the operators to avoid using misleading marketing campaigns ahead of the launch of the mobile number portability service.

The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has cautioned the country’s telecom operators Etisalat and du to avoid using “misleading” marketing campaigns when promoting the launch of the new Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service.

In a statement, the TRA said that it expects a healthy amount of competition between the licensees but that it requires them to conduct their marketing campaigns in accordance with the regulatory provisions.

“During the last few weeks the TRA has found it necessary to intervene and instruct Etisalat and du to remove certain material from their respective campaigns,” it said.

“The TRA took those actions as it considered certain material (published by each licensee) to be in violation of the regulatory framework.”

Both licensees have complied with the instructions and removed inappropriate marketing communications, it added.

The much-delayed MNP service will allow subscribers to change service providers while retaining the same phone number. It comes into effect on December 30, 2013.

Last month, the TRA fined Etisalat for blocking text messages that would have provided its customers with details on how to switch to du. The regulator ordered Etisalat to lift the block and later issued a ‘Violation Decision’ against the operator for failing to do so.

“The TRA will continue to monitor the campaigns and will intervene again if necessary to protect consumers from inappropriate marketing material,” the statement said.

The UAE has a mobile penetration rate of 181 per cent and a smartphone penetration rate of 73.8 per cent, according to recent estimates. Du had a mobile customer base of 6.9 million subscribers as of September 30, giving it a market share of 46.4 per cent, it stated in its third quarter report.