Etisalat plans to cut international call tariffs by up to 30%

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A part of the overall product revamp for home products, Etisalat  plans to cut international call tariffs to few countries by up to 30 percent, an executive told the press. The discussed cuts come as Etisalat, which operates in 17 countries, refocuses on its domestic market.

The plans are at an early stage and need regulatory approval, but are likely to come into force in the second half of 2012, according to Etisalat’s vice-president, Rashed Alabbar.

Etisalat already has a favoured country call plan where customers can get up to 40 percent off standard tariffs.

A 10 to 30 percent price cut is what the telecom company is planning at across local and international calls to the most popular destinations. These may include India, Philippines and Pakistan, which have large expatriate communities in the country.

International calls are a crucial revenue source for Etisalat, with about 90 percent of the UAE’s 8.2 million population foreigners.

The UAE telco tries to win back market share. Etisalat  followed foreign expansion policy until recently, allowing du to build up a 47 percent share of the country’s mobile subscribers since launching services in 2007.

Etisalat also faces a rising use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services – free Internet-to-Internet calls and cheap Internet-to-phone calls – as people upgrade to smart phones with VoIP capabilities and broadband penetration rises.

Etisalat recently changed its low-end broadband tariffs so that subscribers get double the bandwidth for the same price.