TRC issues Green Paper on converged services to close loophole, delays spectrum sale

6 Sep 2013

Jordanian watchdog the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has published a Green Paper analysing the impact of convergent services in Jordan’s telecoms sector, and proposing new regulatory measures to tackle the challenges it poses. The TRC notes that distribution of competencies and jurisdictions between itself and sister-regulator the Audiovisual Commission (AVC) has left a regulatory vacuum: the AVC regulates content delivered over terrestrial frequencies but has no authority if the content is delivered via satellite, cable or IP. The TRC meanwhile regulates the provision of data services over telecoms networks, but has no authority regarding content. According to the TRC, the separation between the two sets of regulations ‘is simply leaving convergent services to market forces and thus compromising the realisation of a level playing field.’ Potential solutions proposed by the regulator include the imposition of a completely new set of rules – which the TRC said would create legal certainty but might be too distant from the needs of the market – the merging of the two bodies, or the expansion of the AVC’s remit to include content delivered through any means of distribution. Comments and suggestions from this initial paper will be taken into account before a modified paper is presented to the public on 19 September. Technical committees to implement the changes will be established by December and the regulations are expected to be in place by June 2014.

In other news, the TRC has pushed back the deadline for applications for spectrum in the 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz and 2600MHz bands, originally scheduled for the first of this month, to 6 October. The TRC claims that the delay was requested by interested parties to enable them to complete studies and related pre-purchase procedures. As previously noted by CommsUpdate, in July this year Jordan’s cellcos announced that they would boycott the frequency auction in response to a doubling of taxes on wireless services: the special tax on mobile phones was increased to 16% from 8%, whilst the tax on mobile subscriptions rose to 24% from 12%.

Jordan, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC)