Algeria’s Ministry of Posts, IT and Communications (MPTIC) is reportedly considering three strategies which would finally see the award of 3G mobile licences in the country. The Ministry is currently discussing its options with industry watchdog Regulatory Authority for Post and Telecommunications (ARPT) after a planned 3G auction last September was cancelled when operators called for more time to prepare for the sale. According to a report from Algerie Presse Service, the MPTIC is looking at three possible licensing formats: the first would offer a single concession to the highest bidder from the country’s three existing cellular operators, Djezzy, Mobilis and Nedjma; the second option would award a licence to each of the three operators at a nominal price but would then require the firms to pay an annual fee of around 3%-4% of their revenues; the final option would be to assign a 3G permit to each operator at full market value.
There were almost 36 million mobile subscribers in Algeria at the end of June 2012, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, representing a population penetration rate of around 100%. 3G licensing was first mooted in mid-2008 but the issue has since dragged on without resolution.