Algerian telecoms watchdog the Autorite de Regulation de la Poste et des Telecoms (ARPT) has published its Decision No.1/SP/PC/ANRT/2014, dated 8 January 2014, which outlines the terms and conditions of deployment of 3G commercial services in optional wilayas. According to the document, the launch of 3G services in additional towns and areas is subject to authorisation by the regulator. The concession will be issued at the request of the operator and the application must be accompanied by a deployment map outlining the coverage level in the municipalities, with list of 3G-enabled base transceiver stations (BTS) in the specified mandatory provinces. Further, the regulator will carry out verification checks on a sample of sites at the end of each year. Deployment of 3G services in the optional municipalities will be allowed when an operator has met its coverage and quality of service (QoS) obligations for its obligatory provinces.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the watchdog issued the final licences for the provision of 3G services in the country to all three applicants—Mobilis, Ooredoo Algeria (Nedjma) and Djezzy – on 3 December 2013. Mobilis was granted exclusivity in the towns of Batna and Laghouat and must also cover Algiers, Constantine, Ouargla, Oran, Annaba, Tipaza, Biskra, Sidi Bel Abbes, Setif, Tlemcen, Blida, Tizi-Ouzou, Djelfa, El Oued, Tiaret Tebessa and Ain Defla by the end of its first year of operation. For its part, Nedjma has exclusivity in the town of Bejaia Ghardaia; by end-December 2014 the operator must also provide 3G coverage in the towns of Algiers, Constantine, Ouargla, Setif, Chlef, Blida, Tlemcen, Boumerdes, Tipaza, Biskra, El Oued Sidi Bel Abbes, Medea, Ain Defla and Djelfa. Meanwhile, in the first year Djezzy was granted exclusive coverage of Bechar Skikda, in addition to coverage of Algiers, Constantine, Ouargla, Oran, Blida, Mostaganem, El Oued and Ain Defla. All three operators must achieve coverage of 80% of the population by the end of the seventh year of operation.