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For the first time since the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) was established as an independent entity last year, Qatar Today is invited to take a look inside and meet its public face.
An Emiri Decree in April 2014 gave CRA the independence to continue to manage the country's telecom affairs, outside the direct oversight of the Ministry of Information Technology. Amel Salem Al Hanawi, Manager, Consumer Affairs, says this move, mirrors global best practices of a free-standing telecom regulatory authority. The CRA has transformed from what was a small team under ictQATAR into the authority on all telecom matters inside Qatar, with several of its tentacles dealing with spectrum allocations, numbering, domains, regulations, consumer affairs and so on.
Right off the bat, CRA has made it clear that the protection of consumer rights continues to remain one of its top priorities. Last year, the authority drafted and released the Consumer Protection Policy (CPP), the Arsel mobile app and the Code on Advertising, Marketing and Branding, all aimed at safeguarding and promoting the rights of telecom users. “Our role is making sure consumers are aware of their rights and obligations in making informed decisions about the services they have purchased. And we work together with service providers to make sure all their strategies and goals are aligned towards the benefit of the consumer,” Al Hanawi says.
The CRA deals with close to 100 complaints every month; consumers who have not been able to resolve their complaints with their telecom providers can still approach the CRA as the last resort and present their case. If after 30 days of placing a complaint with your service provider, your issue hasn't been resolved in a satisfactory manner, you can lodge a complaint with the CRA either in person, by calling the 103