Consumers are unhappy with the price of international phone calls in the UAE and this needs to be addressed, said a top official from the country's telecoms regulator today.
"This is the area that has to be worked on. Consumers are telling us these services are too expensive," said Fintan Healy, executive director of regulatory affairs at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).
In response to the TRA's 2010 household survey 48 per cent of individuals said they were unhappy with the price of calls from their mobile phone, while 42 per cent expressed dissatisfaction with the price of calls from their fixed land line,
Du charges customers by the second and Etisalat by the minute, though prices for both providers differ depending on whether the call is made from a fixed line or mobile.
The Household 2010 survey also showed that 17 per cent of fixed line users and 26 per cent of mobile phone users sometimes ask people from other countries to call them rather than making the call themselves to save money.
Mr Healy added that only 13 per cent of fixed line users use the Carrier Selection Service, which allows users to place international and long distance national calls through a different operator to the one they subscribe to.
"This is quite low," he said.
Etisalat user Ashrif Ali, a landlord in Abu Dhabi, regularly buys a 25 dirham international calling card that entitles him to a phone call of around 7 or 8 minutes to India.
He said the price of the calling home is too expensive.
"How can low salary people speak to their sister, mum, whatever. You can just say hi, hello, and that's it, 25 dirhams gone," Mr Ali said.