Jordan Telecom sues government over 3G licence exclusivity breach

10 Jan 2011

The Jordan Telecom Group (JTG) has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the government for allegedly violating its 3G exclusivity, and is seeking JOD120 million (USD168 million) in compensation for the ‘damage caused by granting a 3G licence to another operator’. In August 2009 the Jordanian telecoms regulator – the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) – granted Jordan Telecom, which operates in the mobile arena under the Orange Jordan banner, a JOD50 million 3G licence which guaranteed it a year of exclusivity from the date of commercial launch, which took place in March 2010. However Jordan Telecom claims that the government breached the agreement by granting rival cellco Zain a 3G concession.

The government has responded to the claims by saying that no such concession has been awarded to Zain. ‘The exclusivity the JTG enjoys does not allow any other operator to introduce the 3G services before the exclusivity period ends. We allowed Zain to bring in equipment for the testing of the service, but it cannot introduce the service yet,’ Minister of Information and Communications Technology Marwan Juma told The Jordan Times. ‘No agreement has been signed with Zain at all. After the exclusivity of JTG is over, we will start licensing procedures for Zain,’ the minister said. JTG Chief Executive Officer Nayla Khawam countered however, saying that her company has information that the TRC has already received JOD50 million from Zain to provide it with a licence. ‘The commitment to our exclusivity rights was not respected and we will proceed with our lawsuit. We tried to find a solution with the government until the last minutes before resorting to the law,’ she said.

Jordan, Orange Jordan, Zain Jordan