Jordan liberalises fixed line market

This decision forms part of the regulator’s fixed services liberalisation initiative and will enable 26 existing telecommunications licensees to provide a broad range of services.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  April 29, 2005

Jordan’s Telecommunications Regulatory Commission has announced that all operators will be permitted to provide fixed voice services, including international services, to customers throughout Jordan. This decision forms part of the regulator’s fixed services liberalisation initiative and will enable 26 existing telecommunications licensees to provide a broad range of telecommunications services, including domestic and international fixed voice services. The TRC has invited the existing telecom operators to transition to a new licensing regime that will free them from existing constraints. This step will allow them to offer new services, using any technology that they consider appropriate, subject to certain technical limitations. “This action coupled with the licensing of wholly new entrants to the sector, means that consumers and businesses will have a wider choice of providers and services and can expect lower prices,” says TRC CEO Muna Nijem. Jordan already has one of the most competitive mobile sectors in the region, with four licensed providers serving a population of fewer than 6 million inhabitants. Incumbent cellular operators have raised concerns regarding the level of competition in the market and the extent of liberalisation. “Jordan needs to be watched as far as going too far with liberalisation,” comments Marwan Alahmadi, MTC-Vodafone Bahrain chief operating officer and chief strategy officer for MTC Group. “It (Jordan) should not go the way of Austria, where too much liberalisation can destroy a market.” MTC Group owns a 96% stake in Jordanian market leader Fastlink. Jordan’s fourth mobile licensee and third GSM player, Umniah is set to launch service in June and in preparation of that has awarded a contract to Harris Corporation to supply and install Harris' network backbone and cellular backhaul services. Umniah will use Harris' Truepoint microwave digital radio, Harris’ largest deployment to date in the Middle East.

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