Etisalat has reduced its GCC roaming tariffs by as much as 26 per cent on outgoing calls made when travelling within the GCC countries, the telecom operator announced in a statement on Tuesday.
The cut brings etisalat's charges down to those of du, the firm's competitor.
The new rates, which takes effect today, apply to both prepaid and postpaid customers.
When an etisalat prepaid or postpaid customer in the GCC makes an outgoing voice call to the UAE or any other Gulf country, he or she will be charged Dh2.40 per minute compared to what was previously charged — Dh3 for postpaid and Dh3.25 for prepaid.
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"For example, whilst roaming on Mobily or on any mobile network in Saudi Arabia, an etisalat customer calling Oman or Bahrain will get charged at a flat rate of Dh2.40 per minute," etisalat explained in its statement.
Hasan Sandila, a telecom analyst at IDC, told Gulf News that the telecom operator's decision to decrease its GCC roaming rates is primarily due to "intense competition" with du.
"This decrease in tariff would essentially mean that UAE travellers will now choose an operator for roaming entirely on the basis of quality of service and coverage rather than pricing, since GCC roaming charges for both operators are the same now," Sandila said.
"This move can also be seen as etisalat's focus on its customer retention strategy for business customers," he said, adding that it will intensify competition among the enterprise segment, especially when mobile subscribers in this region undertake significant intra-region travelling for business purposes.
Similarly, while roaming, all outgoing local calls within the country visited will now be at Dh1 per minute, compared to the previous Dh1.30 per minute.
"Thee new offers follow reductions in cost from GCC roaming partners and we are pleased to pass on the value to our customers," etisalat said in an emailed statement to Gulf News.
The new tariff requires no subscription as it will be applied on default when a customer travels to any GCC country and makes phone calls using a GCC roaming partner network.
Etisalat currently has roaming network partnerships with nearly 650 networks for voice in 190 countries.