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Zain Jordan snaps up 4G frequencies

Kingdom’s number-one mobile operator plans LTE service launch by end of year

Telecoms, Operators, Zain - Jordan

Zain Jordan has paid a total of JOD192m ($270m) for 4G and 3G frequencies and is planning a launch of LTE service offerings by the end of this year.

The kingdom's largest mobile operator by subscriber base, Zain Jordan competes against Orange Jordan and Umniah. All three carriers boycotted the auction of 2G, 3G and 4G spectrum frequencies in mid-2013 as a protest against the government's doubling of taxes on mobile phones (16%) and services (24%). The only two bids received by the Telecom Regulatory Commission failed to satisfy quality guidelines and were rejected.

The regulator earlier this month invited fresh bids from the boycotting companies for 4G frequencies.

Zain paid JOD142m for its 4G frequencies and JOD50m for additional 2100MHz spectrum to strengthen its existing 3G services. Because the frequencies were acquired outside of auction, it is not known which spectrum range Zain will use for 4G. The TRC had previously allocated airwaves in the 1800MHz, 2300MHz and 2600MHz for 4G use.

Mohammad Taani, chief commissioner, TRC, made clear that there are still frequencies available for Orange and Umniah and noted that both companies had already declared interest in 4G acquisitions.

"There will be no exclusivity for Zain Jordan," he said. "Any other operator can acquire frequencies to introduce the services at any time."