Jordan Telecom considers new Internet tariffs
In a move expected to give the Jordanian information technology industry an edge, Jordan Telecom has said it is considering plans to reduce the cost of local phone calls for Internet users within the coming three months.
Jordan Telecom Chairman Shabib Ammari said late Monday the company is discussing the matter with the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to reduce the 10 fils per minute fee for online users. However, Ammari did not confirm the price decrease.
His remarks came on the sidelines of the launching ceremony of a new high-speed data communications network, Internet access project, and offers to the Internet service providers (ISPs). The package is designed to provide a state-of-the-art network and will contribute to developing the country's value added software industry.
The new data network will improve, among others, the standards of Internet connectivity, availability and quality. It will provide ISPs and end-users with easier connections, faster data transfer capabilities, and higher speeds ranging from 64 Kb per second to 7 Mb per second.
According to Jordan Telecom, the offer consists of a two-fold package: A segmented offer and an integrated offer, under which the ISP will able to outsource the network management to Jordan Telecom, thus being able to focus on service and content.
Olivier Faure, chief marketing officer, announced that this year there will be a 75 percent decrease in price for ISPs, rendering the services the cheapest in the Arab world. “The future of Internet in Jordan is related to the capacity of the industry to develop local content and to host it (here), in order to optimize the usage of the international bandwidth,” he said.
Minister of Post and Telecommunication Fawaz Zu'bi said Jordan has laid the infrastructure for IT and that there is room for expansion. “It is important for Jordan to spread the usage of Internet and to become a well-known IT society,” Zu'bi told attendants after an iftar hosted by Jordan Telecom.
He said since Jordan entered the World Trade Organization and signed a Free Trade Agreement with the US in record time, it has become necessary to increase the number of Internet subscribers to reach 150,000 by the year 2001.
Zu'bi, who is heading a recently-established advisory committee to oversee and coordinate the implementation of the national strategy for IT development — the Reach Initiative — added that Jordan has the potential to create Arabic content Internet portals catering to the needs of the 300 million potential users in the region. He said many companies entered the IT market, therefore, future efforts should focus on content and on promoting trade relations, e-commerce, as to keep up with the challenges in the Internet industry.
King Abdullah has given priority to educational reforms and the development of the IT sector as a major engine of economic growth. He has instructed the government to introduce computer skills at an early age, and provide public schools with computers and Internet connections in a national drive to turn Jordan into an IT hub.
Marwan Juma, general manager of NETS, said the industry remains challenged by the prices of computers and local telephone calls. “Prices for the ISPs have decreased, and we have quadrupled our capacity, which will be tangible for end users,” he said. “If Jordan Telecom does not reduce the local call fees, there will be no growth in the market.”
The new data communications network covers at the moment the Greater Amman area, but the plan envisages the extension of the data network backbone to major governorates — Irbid, Aqaba, Mafraq, Zarka, Salt and Karak — by March 2001. In the summer, Jordan Telecom chose Alcatel and Cisco to provide equipment and build the network. — ( Jordan Times )
By Suha Ma'ayeh
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)