x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Launch of iPhone 4 in UAE set for tomorrow

Release of latest Apple mobile phone comes as BlackBerry service faces suspension in the Emirates.

The telecom providers du and Etisalat are to officially launch Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 4 in the country tomorrow. The release comes shortly before a deadline to cut BlackBerry services on October 11. Official sources have not reported any progress on talks between the UAE and Research in Motion (RIM), BlackBerry's manufacturer.

Both companies have announced their pricing plans for the phone, which is said to feature the highest resolution display of any mobile phone, as well as a five-megapixel camera and high-definition video recording. It also provides access to 200,000 applications on the Apple store. Etisalat said it was devising a plan to allow postpaid iPhone 3G and 3GS users to upgrade to the iPhone 4. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced in August that key BlackBerry services would be suspended from October 11 after it failed to reach an agreement with RIM, the Canadian maker of the device, over security issues.

There are about 500,000 BlackBerry users in the UAE, the bulk of whom subscribe through Etisalat. The TRA is demanding that BlackBerry data be made accessible to UAE authorities. Currently, it is sent via servers overseas, beyond the reach of Emirati law. Etisalat said in August that BlackBerry users with the most expensive packages could sign up for alternative iPhone deals. Other users would have to make up the difference in pricing. Etisalat said at the time that the offer would include the iPhone 4. Du has previously said that in addition to alternative data packages it would give customers between Dh1,500 and Dh3,000 to buy a new smartphone. The statements issued yesterday by the two providers made no explicit mention of alternative pricing packages.