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Home: Living Here: Telephone and Internet Services

Telecommunications in the UAE
When the United Arab Emirates [UAE] was setup, one of the decrees was for the setup of a telecommunication service provide that would handle all necessary telecommunications required in the UAE, which gave birth to the Emirates Telecommunication Corporation (Etisalat) in 1976. Etisalat is 60% government owned and 40% owned by Emirati citizens. A federal decree (Law No. 1 of 1991 aka The Etisalat Law) was issued which granted Etisalat independent authority and gave Etisalat the monopoly/exclusivity for telecommunication (phone lines, GSM services, internet connections, etc.) in the United Arab Emirates. More information about Etisalat's legal rights can be found here.

Telephones and Mobiles
In order to own a telephone number in the UAE, you need to be atleast 21 or else if you are younger than that you will need a letter of approval from your guardian. In addition to the age requirement, you need to have a residence visa. The cost of a phone line (landline connection) is Dhs. 200 and you will need to fill an application form along with a copy of your passport, residence visa, and property lease. A telephone line will normally take a maximum of two working days to be installed, and you will pay a quarterly rental charge of Dhs. 70. The same requirements required for obtaining a telephone line apply for getting a mobile number (GSM), but the cost of obtaining a number is Dhs. 320 and you will obtain your SIM card on the spot when you apply.

The international code for the United Arab Emirates is 971. Area codes are 2 digits and telephone numbers are 7 digits. The area code for Abu Dhabi is 02, Al Ain is 03, Dubai is 04, Sharjah and Ajman is 06. Mobile numbers in the UAE begin with 050 followed by a 7 digit number. In order to dial a number in the UAE from abroad, the additional 0 at the beginning of the area code should be excluded (example 971-4-2342427), while dialing it locally the 0 should be kept (04-2342427). The same principle applies to calling a mobile number from abroad (971-50-2342427) and calling it locally (04-2342427), while calling from a mobile to mobile, you only need to enter in the mobile's 7 digits (2342427). In order to dial an international number from within the UAE, additional 0s should be added to the number (example for US 001-123-1234567, for UK 044-123-1234567).

Internet Access
Etisalat has setup a division spefically to handle all internet issues and it is known as the Emirates Internet & Multimedia (EIM) and is the United Arab Emirates' only ISP. It has Internet acess services for Dialup, ISDN, ADSL, and Cable. Internet webpages viewed in the UAE are routed through the Emirates Proxy (proxy1.emirates.net.ae:8080) which blocks sites that contain pornography, religious offensive material and criticism of the rulers. A overview of the various Internet services provided by EIM is provided below.

Dialup
Signing up for a Dial-up account costs 100 Dhs. and you need to have a telephone number in your name. Per month you are billed Dhs. 20 for the service and charged Dhs. 1.80 per hour at peak times (between 6am and 1am) or Dhs. 1.00 per hour at off-peak times (between 1am and 6am). You can signup for a dialup account from your home by getting ahold of one of Etisalat's free dialup installation CD.

ADSL
Signup for a ADSL account costs Dhs. 200 and also requires that you have a telephone number in your name. You will need to purchase an ADSL modem which costs Dhs. 375 and per month you will be charged a flat rate of Dhs. 250. This type of ADSL account is for home users. For businesses, other ADSL services are required, which go under the name, BusinessOne, which can cost between Dhs. 350 and can go to Dhs. 2,000.

ISDN
Signup for an ISDN account costs Dhs. 200 and similar to the Dialup requires a telephone number in your name. Every three months, you will be billed Dhs. 100 as a service charge and you have the option of surfing at 128k or 64k. Surfing at 128k, you will be charged 3.6 for peak times or Dhs. 1.80 at off-peak times for each hour. At 64k, you are charged similar to the Dialup.

Dial 'N' Surf
For this type of internet service you dont need to signup for an account or anything. Simply configure your computer and jump online. It costs 15 fils per minute, or Dhs. 9 per hour, and the cost is directly added to the telephone bill.

 
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