The government of Timor-Leste has announced the launch of a tender for two mobile spectrum licences following the signing of an agreement with Timor Telecom last month, which ended the Portugal Telecom subsidiary’s monopoly, effective 10 April 2012. In a step towards the liberalisation of the market, new operators are invited to apply for two new 15-year radio spectrum licences which permit the use of frequencies in the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2.1GHz bands for the provision of mobile services. An option to use radio frequencies in the 850MHz band is also available. The successful applicants for the two new licences will be selected pursuant to a point system which ensures the objective allocation of points for: GSM rollout and service coverage commitments; 3G rollout and service coverage commitments; the performance bond amount; the applicant’s track record; and the applicant’s financial and operational readiness. Expressions of interest are requested by 23 April 2012, and applications by 23 May 2012.
Alongside the tender launch, the government has also introduced Telecommunications Decree-law no. 15/2012 of 28 March 2012, providing a legislative framework for liberalisation and regulation of a competitive telecoms sector. Timor-Leste is now in the process of setting up the new regulatory authority established under the decree-law, the Autoridade Nacional de Comunicacoes (ANC), which will replace current regulator Autoridade Reguladora das Comunicacoes (ARCOM). In addition to receiving the spectrum licences, the successful applicants will be registered as service providers under the Telecommunications Decree-law, which permits a registered company to provide any telecoms service (domestic, international, fixed, mobile, internet, data or otherwise) subject to obtaining a spectrum licence if it requires frequencies to provide the service.