UAE's telecom regulator limits charges for early termination of mobile contracts

Mobile phone users will only be charged a month’s fee for ending their contract

Close up teenage girl friends using cell phones

Mobile phone users in the UAE will no longer have to pay months’ worth of fees for ending their contracts early.

An amendment stipulating that only a month's fee be charged for early termination, replaces the previous provision, which stipulated charging a monthly fee multiplied by the number of the contract's remaining months, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said a statement Wednesday.

“At TRA, we strive to hear the comments of the stakeholders on the operators’ services, and we don’t hesitate to review any policies or regulations for the interests of the parties and the public, to increase the happiness of the telecom sector customers in the country,” said Hamad Al Mansoori, TRA director general.

The amendment, which applies to UAE licensees’ service contracts, has already been applied to new mobile contracts. The TRA is working on introducing these amendments to existing contracts, too.

The purpose of the amendment is to “apply the best international standards on services provided by licensees in the UAE and to provide more freedom and flexibility to users in choosing the services they desire,” TRA said. It also consolidates termination fees, making it easier for customers to calculate the costs of services.

“The new amendment comes in response to the complaints of some customers, since the previous provisions forced the customer to commit to using the service until the end of the contract, despite their unwillingness to do so sometimes,” said Mohammed Al Ramsi, regulatory affairs director.

“Now the user can terminate the service contract and choose another service for a simple charge equals one month fee, which is considered operational fees."

Previously the penalties for breaking a contract could add up quickly. For Etisalat plans, it either cost Dh50 or Dh100 times the number of months remaining in the contract, depending on the package.

For du plans, it was anywhere between Dh100 times the remaining months for a 12-month contract to Dh1,000 times the remaining months of the second year for a 24-month contract, also depending on the monthly package cost.