TRC rejects newcomer’s 4G applications

25 Feb 2014

The Jordanian government has rejected applications for 4G spectrum from broadband provider Kulacom and US-backed firm Ameriphone after the duo failed to meet the terms of the tender, the Jordan Times reports. Mohammed Taani, chief commissioner of the Telecommunications Regulation Commission (TRC), announced at a meeting with the press last week that Kulacom had been unable to provide the necessary financial guarantee. Ameriphone, meanwhile, provided a financial guarantee but from a foreign bank whereas the tender calls for a guarantee from a licensed bank in Jordan. The US company also violated the terms of the auction by providing a certificate of registration from 2009.

ICT Minister Azzam Sleit has called for the TRC to take measures to ensure the provision of 4G services as soon as possible, and announced that the government is: ‘ready to look into any official requests we receive for providing 4G in Jordan from local telecom companies or those working abroad.’ The minister went on, encouraging the nation’s trio of incumbent cellcos to enter offers for the spectrum: ‘We will be happy if the three existing operators submit requests to acquire the frequencies to provide 4G.’

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Orange Jordan, Umniah and Zain Jordan boycotted the sale in protests against the doubling of taxes on the telecom sector in mid-2013: in July 2013 the special tax on mobile phones was increased to 16% from 8%, whilst the tax on mobile subscriptions – both pre- and post-paid – rose to 24% from 12%. The trio had also argued against the TRC’s efforts to introduce a fourth player into the already near-saturated market. Even without these considerations, it is unclear whether the cellcos would have bid for the 4G spectrum, with several senior officials commenting that the market is ‘not yet ready’ for 4G services.

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