Telecoms battle

Etisalat and du go head to head in wake of spyware scandal

Both Etisalat and du have launched special offers within days of each other as the battle for customers intensifies in the wake of the controversy surrounding alleged spyware software Etisalat issued to its BlackBerry subscribers.

More than half of Etisalat's BlackBerry customers are planning to ditch the UAE telecoms provider following the spyware scandal, according to an online poll conducted by Arabian Business last week.

Etisalat is facing fierce criticism after allegations it deliberately infected BlackBerry customers' handsets with surveillance software to check on peoples' emails and texts.

On Saturday, rival telecoms operator du launched a credit back offer of Dhs904 ($246) for new or existing customers of its BlackBerry service.

A day later on Sunday, Etisalat announced a special promotion, giving subscribers to its More Rewards programme Dhs24 free talk-time in the form of bonus points.

Some 36 percent of BlackBerry users who took part in the Arabian Business poll said they will cancel their Etisalat contract "immediately" and switch to du.

"We continue to receive new enquires about our BlackBerry offering but it would be impossible to attribute these enquires to any one reason in particular," said Saugat Chatterjee, PR manager for brand and communications at du.

Chatterjee denied du's latest offer was timed to coincide with the fallout from the spyware controversy but was, instead, an announcement as part of planned commercial offers for customers.

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