Jordan's telecoms commission settles dispute with Orange over 2G network renewal
Following the agreement, Orange Jordan plans to expand its network in the country. (File photo)
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The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) signed a settlement agreement with Orange Jordan on Sunday, ending a dispute related to the renewal of the company's second-generation (2G) network.
The agreement also resulted in dropping all charges and an international request for arbitration filed by the telecom provider against the government.
In 2014, Orange Jordan resorted to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes and local courts in protest against the TRC's conditions when the regulator set renewal fees of its 2G licence for 15 years at JD156 million and levied JD3.4 million a year as the government’s cut from the frequency revenues.
The company saw the annual fees as unfair and when it filed a lawsuit with the Higher Court of Justice, the tribunal dismissed the case for lack of competence.
According to the terms of the agreement, the TRC will renew the 900MHz spectrum licence for an additional period of ten years starting from May 9, 2019, TRC Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Ghazi Al Jobor said in a statement to The Jordan Times on Monday.
The renewed licence will be on a technology neutrality basis for the whole duration of its period (15 years) and with a total amount of JD156.3 million as a renewal spectrum licence returns, he added.
The agreement insures that the company shall pay an amount of JD104.250 million in two equal installments where the first amount of JD52.125 million is payable by May 8, 2019 and the second to be payable by May 8, 2024 for the 900MHz spectrum licence renewal for the remaining ten-year period.
Therefore, the 900MHz spectrum licence will remain valid for a cumulative period of 15 year starting from May 9, 2014 to, and including, May 8, 2029 provided that the Company paid the aforementioned installments in full and in timely manner and subject to the terms of renewed licence.
Furthermore, the settlement agreement involves that the company shall deploy an additional 100 new mobile radio sites for expanding Orange Jordan radio network coverage in governorates (outside Amman) before the expiry period of its current renewed licence May 8, 2019. The new radio sites shall be identified by TRC in response to the complaints presented by citizens on Orange Jordan mobile services.
Within this agreement, Orange Jordan will be granted gradual exemptions from the payment of annual spectrum returns for a cumulative period of six years, subject to full payment of the two instalments of the renewal returns, and provided that the company achieves the deployment of new 100 additional radio sites in the Kingdom.
Jobor stressed on the importance of reaching this final settlement due to its benefits on the Kingdom in terms of the overall national economy in general and on the ICT sector in particular.
Michel Monzani, senior vice president in charge of the Middle East and North Africa region for Orange Group expressed Orange’s satisfaction in signing the agreement with the Jordanian government regarding the 2G licence dispute.
“This agreement will support investment in the ICT sector and will strengthen the commitment of Orange Group as a long-term strategic partner of Jordan.,” Monzani said.
Jérôme Hénique, Orange CEO, said: “Reaching this agreement with the TRC is a major achievement for us. “
“Following this much awaited agreement, we seek to further expand our network and leverage the quality of our networks and services to assure Orange Jordan’s solid position of being the leading internet provider in Jordan,” Hénique added.
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