The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been established according to the UAE Federal Law by Decree No. 3 of 2003 – Telecom Law, where, as portrayed by the TRA Board Member & Director General, H.E. Mohamed Al Ghanim, “immediately after its establishment, the TRA was faced with the twin challenges of organization building and formulating a regulating framework to enable competition to commence in the UAE.”
Since then, however, the TRA has surpassed expectations by achieving its goals in record time. The TRA finalized the licensing of the two telecommunication operators of the UAE, Etisalat & Du, where the new operator Du was licensed on 12 February 2006, after around three decades of telecommunication monopoly in the country; the TRA was elected for a seat in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Council of the United Nations and chaired its 7th Global Symposium for Regulators hosted from 5th to the 7th of February 2007, at Dubai World Trade Centre; and it has chaired the General Assembly of the Arab Regulators Network (AREGNET) for the period 2006 – 2007.
The organizational objectives of the TRA are derived from the Telecommunications Law, its Executive Order and the National Telecommunications Policy. These objects may be summarized as ensuring adequacy of telecommunications services throughout the UAE; achieving enhancement of services, both in terms of quality and variety; ensuring quality of service and adherence to terms of licenses by licensees; encouraging telecommunications and IT services within the UAE; promoting and enhancing the telecommunications sector within the UAE; promoting and developing the telecommunications sector in the UAE by training, development and the establishment of relevant training institutions; resolving any disputes between the licensed operators; establishing and implementing a regulatory and policy framework; promoting new technologies; ensuring that the UAE becomes the regional ICT hub; developing the country’s human capital; and encouraging research and development.
Believing that a successful Telecom and ICT Sectors are related to safety and security, the TRA introduced a new initiative to establish the United Arab Emirates Computer Emergency Response Team (aeCERT), which will constitute a cyber security coordination center in the UAE. Furthermore, knowing for sure that research and development is the core of any progress for any field where it represents the cornerstone of any project, the TRA established the ICT Development Fund which provides comprehensive resources and support to meet the unique needs of each project, and drives its success, including funding grants, equity and scholarships; providing business and technical advisory and commercialization support; and networking via providing access to industry, technical experts and investors.
Still, and in accordance with the UAE National Environmental Strategy set by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the TRA launched a telecom environmental initiative, «The National Telecom Recycling Campaign», which involves the collection and recycling of old or damaged mobile phones that contain material considered harmful to the environment if thrown as ordinary waste. This initiative is within the framework of the TRA contribution in making the UAE government environmental strategy viable, and within its continuous policy regarding the adoption of the Social Corporate Responsibilities on which the TRA builds its executive decisions.
The TRA answers to its Board of Directors that include H.E. Mohamad Bin Ahmad Al-Qamzi, Chairman of the Board, H.E. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Board Member and TRA Director General, H.E. Issam Al-Tamimi, Board Member, H.E. Abdul Qader Al-Khayyat, Board Member, and H.E. Ahmad Humaid Al-Mazrouie, Board Member. Bearing in mind that the highest supervisory body of the telecommunications sector in the UAE, is the Supreme Committee for the Supervision of the Telecommunications Sector, chaired by the UAE Minister for the Development of Government Sector, H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al-Mansouri.
The TRA encompasses ten major departments under the direct supervision of the Director General, as follows: the Regulatory Affairs Department, the Spectrum Affairs Department, the Technical Affairs Department, the Legal Affairs Department, the eCommerce Department, the Licensing Department, the Communications Department, the Administrative Affairs Department, the Finance Department, and the Human Resources (HR) Department.