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Mobile services come under NCC scrutiny

posted on 07/01/2003: 3049 views

The new National Consultative Council (NCC) of Abu Dhabi yesterday reviewed and discussed a report on the services offered by ETISALAT in remote areas, on nearby islands and offshore facilities. The debate on ETISALAT services came during the second meeting of the First General Session of the 15th Legislative Chapter of the Council, chaired by Speaker Abdullah Mohammed Al Masoud.

The issues involving ETISALAT and its services were raised by the council during previous sessions, asking the Corporation to improve its mobile phone services in remote areas and Abu Dhabi islands. The council also expressed concern over the charges levied on the directory services and also called for its withdrawal. The issues were raised in an agenda presented by a number of council members.

The issues were referred to a committee to discuss them with the authorities concerned. After several debates, it passed a resolution and referred it to Abu Dhabi's Executive Council (EC) for action. The members were critical of the poor mobile phone transmission in some remote areas, particularly on nearby islands and at sea.

The members yesterday were informed about the Executive Council's talks with Ministry of Communications to look into the council's appeal. The Executive Council sent a report on the talks, which was reviewed by the council yesterday. About poor mobile phone transmissions, ETISALAT, according to the report, clarified that mobile phones lower than eight watts capacity do not operate in such areas.

Responding to the NCC's call for adopting technical measures to improve its services, ETISALAT explained to the Executive Council: "Some mobile phones are not specified to function in remote areas, including offshore. To guarantee a good GSM coverage network, subscribers need phones with a capacity of at least eight watts. "To guarantee full GSM coverage, ETISALAT has installed 118 stations along the coast in Abu Dhabi. The corporation is also constructing eight more stations.

Referring to fee levied on directory enquiry (180 and 181) services, it clarified that the service has been introduced to utilise advance technologies for its enhancement and development." According to the report, a Dh4.5 cost is involved in every directory service, which is offered to its customer for mere 30 fils. This directory contact centre, according to the report, has been set up with 750 staff, 70 per cent of whom are UAE nationals, to "help ETISALAT contribute towards the Emiratisation programme of the country."

Responding to NCC's protest to the growing number of telephonic quiz contests and promotional programmes, ETISALAT clarified that commercial companies are mainly responsible for their telephone services and guidance programmes. "ETISALAT is only responsible for informing the subscriber about the costs involved in the services."

Lauding the efforts of ETISALAT in providing quality communication services, the report said that the corporation is keen to see the Ministry of Information and Culture control such companies to abide by copyright laws to provide legal protection at personal and collective levels. According to the report, ETISALAT is finalising a number of new projects to expand its coverage area for its services.

One of the key projects, the members were informed, is turning mobile phone schemes into a personal data centre to meet the requirements of the private and public sector establishments. Yesterday's proceedings also included reformation of nine permanent committees of the house. The nine committees include the 33-member strong Preliminary Committee, headed by the Speaker. (The Gulf News)


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