CDMA for Jordan?

14 Oct 03

A week after CDMA failed to get a foothold in Iraq, the Jordanian Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has issued a public notice containing the proposed terms and conditions for the issuance of a further license for mobile services. There is currently a CDMA network in Israel.

The TRC stated that it plans to issue the new license in accordance with the Statement of Government Policy on the Information and Communications Technology Sectors and Postal Sector. That statement requires that the mobile communications sub-sector be opened to further competition in the supply of services on or at the earliest opportunity following January 1, 2004. The Statement also requires that an explicit program for further licensing within the sub-sector be made available, following public consultation, by 31st October, 2003.

Bidding will be open to all potential investors that meet the requisite criteria of financial ability, industry experience and technological suitability.

The new license will be technology neutral, and the winner can choose to either operate in the 1800Mhz or 1900Mhz bands. This would potentially enable the winner to deploy a CDMA network in the 1900 band, although the lack of local CDMA operators would isolate the company from roaming revenues. As the new entrant would be allowed to lease capacity from an existing operator while building out its own network, that does tend to favour GSM being chosen. The spectrum is currently occupied by the Jordanian army, and it is unlikely that the license winner will be able to gain access to them for at least nine months, delaying the network launch until the second half of next year at the earliest. 

The regulator also said that it will require all the mobile operators to implement mobile number portability as soon as practical. The regulator will hold talks early next year on this subject.

The incumbent operators will also be able to bid for additional spectrum in both the 900 and 1800 bands.

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