x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Etisalat mystery over phone deadline

Etisalat has declined to confirm or deny that one million customers might have their phones disconnected by next month.

There is confusion over whether up to 1 million Etislalat customers may be cut off if this miss a deadline to re-register their Sim cards.
There is confusion over whether up to 1 million Etislalat customers may be cut off if this miss a deadline to re-register their Sim cards.

DUBAI // Etisalat declined to confirm or deny yesterday that one million customers might have their phones disconnected by next month.

In a statement issued on Wednesday to Arabic media, Etisalat suggested that if users did not register their Sim cards by October 16, their phone services would be "permanently disconnected".

A spokesman for Etisalat declined to either reiterate the statement, nor offer any further clarification.

Matthew Reed, a Dubai-based analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media, said his initial thought was that the statement was inaccurate. "Maybe they were just trying to create a sense of urgency, or it might not have been reported accurately," he said.

The call to register Sim cards is part of the "My Number, My Identity" campaign, initiated by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). When the scheme was announced in July the TRA said the registration time frame would run for 18 months, divided into six phases.

A spokesman for the TRA said the original statement was still valid, but did not offer any further information on whether there would be disconnections at the end of any of the phases.

Wednesday's statement said a first batch of 1.5 million Etisalat customers had been contacted.

mcroucher@thenational.ae