Moussa Benhamadi, Algeria’s Minister of Posts, IT and Communications, has confirmed that 3G services will be introduced to the country in November 2013, with the regulator Autorite de Regulation de la Poste et des Telecoms (ARPT) scheduled to launch an auction of 3G/3G+ licences on 1 August, local news agency La Liberte reports. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate in April 2013, the Algerian government postponed the long-awaited tender in order to complete the acquisition of local mobile operator Djezzy.
According to La Liberte, the Algerian government has instead found a way to bypass current legislation, which prohibits companies from participating in licence auctions if they are currently undergoing a change in their ownership. Mr Benhamati stated that the watchdog ARPT is a sovereign authority, and as such, it will have the final say whether or not Djezzy’s application is accepted. Although negotiations between Djezzy’s current owner, Russian-backed Vimpelcom Group, and Algeriers regarding the planned purchase have reportedly stalled on numerous occasions, Benhamati noted that discussions between both sides are ‘currently ongoing and on track’.