Algeria’s Regulatory Authority for Post and Telecommunications (Autorite de Regulation de la Poste et des Telecoms, ARPT) has agreed in principle to accelerate the deployment of 3G networks, according to Minister of Posts, IT and Communications Imane Houda Feraoun. The Algerie Presse Service (APS) reports that the telecoms ministry recently asked the ARPT to examine the possibility of fast-tracking 3G rollouts across the country’s 48 provinces, as several regions are still only covered by 2G networks. TeleGeography notes that the ARPT awarded 3G licences to all three domestic cellcos – Mobilis, Nedjma/Ooredoo and Djezzy – in December 2013; according to the rollout obligations, the three operators must cover the entire national territory with 3G services by end-2018.
Meanwhile, the Algerian government is planning to raise VAT on 3G mobile data services from 7% to 17% in its 2016 budget, while telecoms operators will be liable to pay 2% of their turnover in tax, Agence Ecofin reports. ICT Minister Imane Houda Feraoun said that due to falling oil prices several ICT investment programmes would be frozen, though she disclosed that the cuts are not expected to affect Algeria’s national fibre rollout.