UAE incumbent Etisalat announced Tuesday that it will stop charging its pre-paid customers for the annual renewal of their mobile accounts. Thousands of UAE users received texts from the telco on Monday informing them that their Wasl or pre-paid accounts were now permanently valid, and would be renewed automatically.The previous annual charge to renew pre-paid accounts was AED50. The UAE’s second telco, du, removed this charge in 2009.The move comes amid increasing competition in the UAE’s telecommunications sector. Etisalat saw its net profit drop by 14.9 percent in the second quarter, missing analysts’ forecasts.Etisalat said it had 7.5m mobile subscribers across its 18-country footprint at the end of the second quarter, up by 0.9 percent on the previous quarter.Du, meanwhile, has attracted thousands of mobile customers from Etisalat, and is expected to report strong second-quarter results on Wednesday.The country’s telecoms regulator said last month that business and residential customers would be able to choose between du and Etisalat for their fixed line and broadband services before the end of the year.Both du and Etisalat already offer fixed-line and broadband services in the UAE, but not in the same districts.
From / Arabian Business