Algerian telecoms regulator, the Autorite de Regulation de la Poste et des Telecoms (ARPT), has published its Decision No. 87/SP/PC/ARPT/2014, effective 8 July 2014, which establishes a ‘single number plan’ for 3G services. The watchdog implemented a transitional solution via Decisions No. 90/PC/ARPT/2013 and No. 91/PC/ARPT/2013 in November 2013, under which subscribers were allowed to have two numbers (GSM and UMTS) on one SIM card. However, following a consultation with the country’s 3G licencees – Ooredoo Algeria (Nedjma), Algerie Telecom Mobile (Mobilis) and Djezzy GSM – the parties reached a consensus on developing a solution for the effective separation of revenues generated by the 2G and 3G services.
According to the new decision, subscribers who have two numbers – 2G and 3G – on the same SIM card are now required to choose one number, and/or obtain a separate SIM card for the other. Further, subscribers to 3G services wishing to maintain their old GSM number are required to enter into a new contract with their respective network operator, which will lead to the automatic termination of the legacy GSM contract. Under Article 3 of the legislation, operators are not allowed to have any dual number SIMs on their books after 15 August 2014.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, a number of domestic operators expressed concerns in December 2013 with regards to the possible complications that accompanied the dual number plan. Ooredoo Algeria’s director Joseph Ged stated that it would be difficult for customers to change their SIM cards whenever they wanted to access the 3G service. In addition to being expensive, he said that it constituted a double subscription to the same operator. For its part, the Algerian Consumer Association supported Ooredoo’s position.