|TRC announces issuing the statement on licensing the use of 3G cellular communications Technologies Radio Frequencies in Jordan|
The Jordanian telecoms regulator reveals plans to issue four 15-year UMTS licences in a two-stage process scheduled to start in mid-December 2008. In the first phase, one 3G licence will be auctioned in a tender that will be open to all the incumbent operators and new entrants, with the winner to be announced at the end of January 2009. The minimum price for a paired block (2x5MHz) in the 2.1 GHz band has been set at JOD25 million (US$35.3 million), with bidders free to acquire one block of 10, 15 or 20 MHz of paired spectrum. After the subsequent 10-month separation period, the TRC will offer three UMTS licences (10MHz each) to the existing mobile operators, like Orange, Zain and Umniah, that have not won the tender, at the price established in the initial auction. The regulator will then open a new tender for the remaining 2G spectrum in the 900 and 1800 MHz band, priced at 130% of the cost of the 3G spectrum. It will be open to the 3G licence holders. According to the current 3G rollout requirements, Jordanians will have access to 3G services in major cities in 2010.
The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) held today a press conference during which it announced issuing the Statement on licensing the use of 3G cellular communications Technologies Radio Frequencies in Jordan pursuant to the decision taken by TRC’s board of commissioners during this week.
The issuance of this Statement came according to the powers granted to TRC under the provisions of the Telecommunications Law No. 13 of 1995 and its amendments, and in accordance with the 2007 Statement of Government Policy on the Information and Communications Technology and Postal Sectors. Based on the provisions of article (32) of the Telecommunications Law, the Council of Ministers took a decision to authorize the adoption of a general public tender procedure to grant the first 3G frequencies license and thus establish the market price for subsequent 3G frequency assignments.
The Statement has addressed the basic principles that TRC will adopt for licensing the use of 3G Frequencies in the (2.1 GHz) band. These principles took in consideration the appropriateness of the public tenders method in order to achieve the competitive process and determine the realistic level of spectrum acquisition fees, also, these principles indicated that no party will be denied the opportunity to participate in the public tender to acquire the first 3G spectrum license; moreover, and after achieving the tender process within ten months period “Separation Period”, the opportunity will be available for the incumbent operators to obtain the license of 3G.
The Statement has also addressed the mechanism of tender procedures, whereby, a single 3G spectrum license will be offered for current licensees or new entrants, and one winner will be determined. The reserve price for the spectrum is set at 25 Million Jordanian Dinars for a paired block of (5 MHz) of spectrum, which specify the minimum fees of this band and it does not include the evacuation charges and the annual returns. The bidders are free to obtain 10 or 15 or 20 paired MHz.
The winner of the said tender or the incumbent operators can acquire the 2G spectrum license separately from the tender against an acquisition fee which equates to 130% of the winning price of the tender. Therefore, the minimum fees to grant the 2G spectrum is (32, 500, 000) million JD for a pair of (5 MHz).
On the other hand, TRC will request from the Council of Ministers to grant the companies that acquire 3G frequencies and any new company that acquires 2G frequencies an exemption from customs duties for a period of four years in the same way that was granted to mobile telecommunication companies previously.
It's expected that the tender will be released on mid of December 2008, and the closing date for the bid submission will be on the last week of January 2009, and the winner will be announced during the same week.
TRC would reasonably expect that services will be available within one year of the grant of the first licence. Further, TRC will impose roll-out obligations on the licensees to secure the provision of services in at least the capital cities of each Governate in the Kingdom within a reasonable timescale. It is an objective of TRC to secure the widest possible availability of services and participation thereof.
This conference to declare the 3G Statement, is a continuation to the Public Forum which was held last June to announce the public consultation regarding the services of 3G in the Kingdom, is supported by the European Commission under the provision of the support for Regulatory Reform and Privatization Program (SRRP) and in accordance with the agreement signed between the government of Jordan and the European Union in 2002, to develop effective mechanisms of regulation in line with the best International practices, in addition to increasing competition in services and building capacity.