The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has ordered telcos Etisalat and du to discontinue offering pay-per-use data plans to customers.
The operators can only offer such plans to customers who explicitly request the service, the TRA said.
The move is aimed at “protecting subscribers from excessive charges of the service”, it said.
In order to protect the subscribers from excessive charges of the service "Pay-per-use data", TRA instructed the operators (@dutweets and @etisalat ) to discontinue this service unless the subscriber explicitly requests it from the operator.#TRAservices pic.twitter.com/dB6lY09b8J
— هيئة تنظيم الاتصالات (@TheUAETRA) July 4, 2019
The service used to be automatically activated by simply inserting the SIM card in the mobile device, “causing increase of charges and loss of balance”, the TRA stated.
Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA director general, said the move will now give subscribers “more freedom and flexibility” in choosing the services they desire.
The decision is in line with the TRA’s regulatory role and its sustainability policy, which is based on improving telecommunication services and ensuring that these services reach various segments of society on “satisfactory terms”.
It is also part of the UAE’s preparations for the age of 5G, artificial intelligence and internet of things, a statement said.
Etisalat sent a message to users on Saturday confirming that the pay-as-go service has been blocked.
The latest decision comes three months after the TRA announced a new regulatory framework for early termination fees for telecom service contracts.
Under the amendment, operators can only charge consumers the fee for one month for early termination of services.
Previously, the TRA allowed the operators to charge the monthly fee multiplied by the number of the contract’s remaining months.
“These amendments have been already introduced to the new contracts for mobile phone services, and TRA will apply these amendments to other service contracts in the coming period,” the statement said.