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Orange Jordan takes legal action over 3G network

Telco accuses government of breaching its 3G exclusivity period.

Orange Jordan takes legal action over 3G network
Nayla Khawam, CEO, Orange Jordan, accuses the TRC of breaching the terms of its 3G licence.

Orange Jordan is in the process of taking legal action against Jordan's government for  violating the exclusivity rights that formed part of the telco's 3G licencing agreement, a spokesperson for Jordan's telecoms regulator, the TRC, confirmed to itp.net.

Orange Jordan, which became the first telco to launch a 3G network in March last year, paid JD50 million (US$70 million) for the 15-year licence in August 2009.

At the time, the regulator stipulated that Orange Jordan would have six months to build the network, after which a 12-month exclusivity period would begin.

Orange Jordan said it had filed a lawsuit against the government for allegedly violating its 3G exclusivity rights, and is asking for JD120 million in compensation for "granting the 3G licence to another operator", according to a report from the Jordan Times.

The report added that Orange Jordan alleged that the government had already granted its main rival, Zain Jordan, a licence to offer 3G services, and that the TRC had received JD50 million from Zain for a  licence.

Nayla Khawam, CEO, Jordan Telecom, told the Jordan Times that the telco's exclusivity period had been breached because Zain started to install and market its 3G network during the exclusivity period.

Marwan Juma, Jordan's minister of communications, denied the claims. He told the paper that the government had allowed Zain to test equipment for 3G services, but added that the operator would not be able to start services during the exclusivity period.

"No agreement has been signed with Zain at all. After the exclusivity of JTG is over, we will start licensing procedures for Zain," Juma was quoted as saying.

In November 2010, itp.net reported that Zain Jordan had already started to deploy a 3G network, and that the telco planned to launch the service in the first quarter of 2011.  Dr Abdul Malek Al-Jaber also confirmed that Zain Jordan had approval from the government to deploy its 3G network.

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