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Celebrating 50 years since the emergence of the communications sector in the UAE, the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced that it is set to reveal many fascinating events during its participation in the GITEX Technology Week 2010.
The Golden Jubilee celebration will shed light on the history of the telecommunications sector in the country. A journey that dates back to the early 1960s and how it had profound impact on the history of the country and its remarkable modern boom.
At the beginning of the sixtieths, Abu Dhabi Telegraph and Telephone Company was established as a joint venture between local investors and a foreign partner. At the beginning, the number of the phone lines was 50 but it kept increasing due to the huge development happened at that time. In Dubai, the first telephone service centre was formed as well as the issuance of the first phone book.
A series of achievements saw the light, till the UAE government decided to found Emirates Telecommunications Corporation "Etisalat", which was a milestone in the history of Telecom in the UAE. At the beginning of the new millennium, Emirates Integrated Communications Company "du" was formed, while "Al Thurya" and "Yah Sat" are the latest members who joined the Emirati market.
H.E. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, TRA Director General stated that, "The telecommunications sector plays a pivotal role in linking the corners of the country, directly affecting our lives. Indeed it is the cornerstone and collarbone of the economies of countries. We owe the mammoth progress that is witnessed in that sector to the vision and foresight of the founding fathers of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, his brother Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum and the unlimited support of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of UAE, springing from his unwavering faith that the telecommunications sector is a pillar of promoting the distinctive status of the UAE and ensuring an ideal environment for business and progress."
"The telecommunications sector has stood witness to the extraordinary boom of our country, and it had always been an active player in the sustainable development of the UAE for the past three decades," added Al Ghanim.
Telecommunications played an active role throughout the phases of progress of the Emirati community in the modern era, and the tentacles of its impacts stretched out to include all the actors in the community, starting with individuals to companies and governmental institutions. The construction and economic development in the UAE would not have been possible if it were not for establishing a high-standard communication network, providing new urban communities and giant companies – whether local or multinational – with communication means that meet their most demanding requirements and are exceedingly reliable to facilitate all sorts of business.
Among the outstanding achievements of the telecommunications sector in the country is the fact that the UAE had the highest mobile phone penetration ratio globally reaching an eye-popping 208%. Moreover, it ranks second place in the world regarding the government's vision to develop the adoption of ICT.
The country recently embarked on a number of ambitious projects to develop the performance of the IT and telecommunications infrastructure and ultimately facilitate reach by replacing copper-based wires with fiber optics. The UAE is now the leading country in the world to use fiber optics; indeed, Abu Dhabi will be the first capital in the world to depend entirely on fiber optics by the end of this year.
Since its inception, the TRA followed a visionary strategy supporting the ICT sector in the UAE by safeguarding competition, providing fair access to the domestic infrastructure, and ensuring the optimal use of natural resources through the implementation of best practice in every area.