UAE telecom regulator warns Etisalat and du to avoid misleading adverts

The UAE telecom regular urged the country’s two operators to avoid misleading adverts ahead of the mobile number portability launch by the end of this month.

An office of the telecoms operator du in Dubai Media City. Charles Crowell for The National
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The federal telecoms regulator yesterday urged the country’s two operators to avoid misleading adverts ahead of this month’s launch of mobile number portability.

In a statement, the Telecom Regulatory Authority said: “During the last few weeks the TRA has found it necessary to intervene and instruct each of Etisalat and du to remove certain material from their respective campaigns.

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

The regulator warned of hidden tariffs that were not communicated to consumers in recent telecoms campaigns.

Further, a recent advertisement in which du insinuated its customers were happy and Etisalat’s were not is believed to have bothered the regulator.

Neither Etisalat nor du were available for comment yesterday.

In recent weeks, the regulator imposed a penalty on Etisalat for blocking a “short code” number that customers could use to receive information on transferring their phone numbers to du under mobile number portability.

This allows users to change their phone company while keeping their number.

“The TRA will continue to monitor the campaigns and will intervene again if necessary to protect consumers from inappropriate marketing material,” the regulator said. “However, the TRA notes that it is the responsibility of the licensees to comply with the provisions of the regulatory framework.”

Last week, the TRA said that it was giving Etisalat and du until Monday “to prepare their commercial offerings and sales channels”, and to actually transfer subscribers.

The regulator said that the service would be “promoting greater levels of competition” and “improving the level of service available for consumers”.