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United Arab Emirates - Premium SMS, Short Code Requirements


The regulations in the United Arab Emirates caters and covers all of the Mobile Payment types, that includes Premium SMS BillingStandard Rate ServicesShort Codes, WAP Billing and Operator Billing.



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. TRA is responsible for the management of every aspect of the telecommunications and information technology industries in the UAE. Despite its relatively short life-span, TRA has exceeded expectations by achieving its projected goals in record time.




etisilat.png Etisalat

Etisalat is the Middle East's leading telecommunications operator and one of the largest corporations in the six Arab countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, with a market value of approximately Dh81 billion (US$22 billion) and annual revenues of over Dh32.9 billion (US$9 billion).



The Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC) is a telecom operator in the United Arab Emirates. Although Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company is its legal name, it was commercially re-branded as du in February 2006.



Market Statistics


The UAE boasts penetration levels that are among the worlds highest. The market is served by a duopoly comprised of incumbent Etisalat and relatively new market entrant du. Both operators are locally owned and boast a significant level of government ownership. The UAE is a particularly unique market as the very high expatriate population at over 80% presents opportunities that might not be present in markets with a less fluid population. 



Area: Total:83,600 sq km Land: 83,600 sq km Water: 0 sq km
Cities: Dubai, the most populated city 1,137,347
Terrain: Flat, barren coastal plain merging into rolling sand dunes of vast desert wasteland; mountains in east
Climate: Desert; cooler in eastern mountains


Nationality: Noun: Emirati(s) Adjective: Emirati
Population: 5,628,805 (July 2014 est.)
Annual population growth rate: 2.71% (2014 est.)
Language: Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
Flag: uae_flag.GIF


Type: Federation with specified powers delegated to the UAE federal government and other powers reserved to member emirates
Independence: 2 December 1971 (from the UK)
Constitution: Previous 1971 (provisional); latest drafted in 1979, became permanent May 1996; amended 2009 (2012)
Branches: chief of state: President KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (since 3 November 2004), ruler of Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) (since 4 November 2004); Vice President and Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN RASHID Al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006)
Political parties: None; political parties are not allowed
Suffrage: Limited; note - rulers of the seven emirates each select a proportion of voters for the Federal National Council (FNC) that together account for about 12 percent of Emirati citizens


Nominal GDP: $269.8 billion (2013 est.)
GDP per capita: $29,900 (2013 est.)
Annual GDP growth rate: 4% (2013 est.)
Natural resources: 
Agriculture: Dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish
Industry: Petroleum and petrochemicals; fishing, aluminium, cement, fertilizers, commercial ship repair, construction materials, some boat building, handicrafts, textiles
Trade: Export - Japan 15.4%, India 13.4%, Iran 10.7%, Thailand 5.5%, Singapore 5.5%, South Korea 5.3% (2012)



Market Growth

General region↓ Total number of Internet users (thousands)↓   Total population (thousands)↓ GDP per capita↓ GDP total (thousands)↓   Total number of mobile subscribers (million)↓
Middle East 5,859,118   8,264,070  $43,185 $389.994 billion   11.706
[source] [source]   [source] [source] [source]   [source]



The Emirati Dirham (sign: د.إ; code: AED) is the official currency of United Arab Emirates.

100 AED in £GBP

100 AED in $USD

100 AED in €EUR


Approval Process

As part of the application process for a short code, you will need to complete a txtNation Customer Care Form (CCF).


Promotional Guidelines

There are currently no written regulations at the time of writing for United Arab Emirates. Your CCF will be evaluated to ensure your service is delivering value for money and is honest and fair.


Conditions for the application of the subscription:

- Content has to be appealing to UAE locals & residents, or your service will not receive approval from the networks. 
- Service has to be within TRA guidelines


Messages Flow Requirements

 There are currently no written regulations at the time of writing for United Arab Emirates, however you should ensure that you include the following:

- Name of service

- Price

- Support information

Your CCF will be evaluated to ensure your service is delivering value for money and is honest and fair. 


> Messages will be categorised as either Transactional or Promotional/Marketing. Each category will require adherence to the following procedures:

How to submit Transactional Traffic:

Transactional messages can be sent without needing to be pre-approved. All Originators can be used while submitting this type of traffic, although please note that these be will overwritten with a pre-approved Short Code Originator, being: 5070. No further action is required for transactional messages. 

How to submit Marketing Traffic:

To gain approval for Marketing messages we need to submit a formal request, duly filled, on letter-headed paper/email of the company running the promotion. Please provide the campaign details to your Account Manager, then we will endeavour to work with the Operators to get the campaign approved before sending.


Billing Types

We operate on Mobile Originated (MO) billed line on shared lines in the United Arab Emirates. See forum entry "What are the SMS billing types available?" for more information on these billing types.


Shortcodes and Keywords

On our shared code in the United Arab Emirates, we operate on a 4 digit short code for each carrier. 



The current United Arab Emirates rate of tax is available via Wikipedia. The out-payments on our rate cards are exclusive of VAT, so if you are VAT registered you can claim a higher out-payment than is shown.


Dedicated Codes 

Dedicated codes are available with a 6 month lead time depending on carrier availability, the carriers approve based on their backlog, the time of year, price point and service type. You can read more about Short Code Coverage, SMS Billing Services and Mobile Payments in the United Arab Emirates via the txtNation Gateway.


The United Arab Emirates has the following Mobile Payment options available, all of which fall under these regulations:

  • Premium SMS (P-SMS) including Short code services
  • Operator Billing (Direct-to-bill)
  • WAP Billing
  • MSISDN Pass-through

Additional options for Mobile Payments and Messaging in the United Arab Emirates include:

  • HLR Lookup
  • Bulk SMS

Note: This page is updated as frequently as possible when we are informed from the regulators or mobile operators in the United Arab Emirates of a change or update in regulations. There may be a latest version of Premium SMS, Mobile Payments or Short Code Regulations in the United Arab Emirates. Please contact your account manager for more information.

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  • Avatar
    AJ Nouman

    DU UAE Regulations Update

    DU Has updated their regulations for the United Arab Emirates with the following amendments.

    1. Pre-Payment page:

    a. It is mandatory to show the cost of the purchase on the pre-payment page. e.g.: AED X would be charged for purchasing Y credits for ABC Game/App/ site, valid for Z days.

    Click Proceed to Pay

    1. Payment Page:

    a. On the payment page (on choosing Mobile Payments), the following needs to be mentioned clearly - “On clicking ‘Purchase’, a message would be sent from your mobile, charging AED X on your mobile bill, to complete the payment transaction”. To confirm, click “Purchase”

    1. Post Payment:

    a. Post successful transaction on charging, the user should be informed of the purchase with details as follows- AED X/ was charged | for purchasing Y credits/item | valid for Z days.

    b. Also the user should receive a message (MT) confirming details of purchase as follows- AED X/ was charged | for purchasing Y credits/item | on the ABC Game/App/Site | valid for Z days

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