Jordan’s Telecommunicaton Regulatory Commission (TRC) has announced that it will negotiate directly with the country’s mobile operators in a move to get 3G services launched by the end of this year, reports CommsMEA. The decision comes after last month’s 3G tender failed to produce a winning bid. Cellcos said at the time that the reserve price of JOD50 million (USD70 million), together with 15 annual licence fee payments of approximately JOD2.5 million, made for an unsustainable business case in a market like Jordan. The TRC had hoped to attract investors from Jordan and overseas when the delayed process began in March, but the only bidder, Orange Jordan, had its offer rejected because it did not comply with the terms and conditions of the bid. A spokeswoman for the TRC said Orange Jordan did not submit the required financial bond of JOD10 million. The bid also contained additional conditions which related to mobile spectrum and the ten month 3G exclusivity period, which Orange Jordan did not want to begin from the date the licence was awarded.
The CEO and chairman of Jordan’s TRC, Dr Ahmad Hiasat, told CommsMEA: ‘Taking into account that still the financial crisis is here and there is uncertainty, we intend to go into a direct award of the spectrum to the existing operators within terms that we think are fair to everybody, including the operators, the treasury and consumers.’ Hiasat said the TRC will listen to operators’ concerns and requirements, but he warned that if no agreement is reached within a month the regulator will retender the licence with new terms and conditions. One of the conditions that could be amended is the reserve price, which Hiasat said could be reduced. There is also a possibility that the exclusivity period could be increased from the ten month period stipulated in the original tender, after operators complained it would not give enough time to build and launch a network. ‘Potentially we can award up to four licences… our ultimate goal is not to maximise revenue but rather to have more services and more competition in the telecom sector with all its submarkets. If we conclude with the operators I expect to have the service launched and offered before the end of the year.’