Algeria’s telecoms law amendment bill withdrawn from parliament

9 Oct 2013

A telecoms bill amending the Telecom Law 03-2000 of 5 August 2000 has been withdrawn from Algeria’s National People’s Congress (NPC) without adoption. If passed, the revision bill would have allowed for the implementation of number portability (NP), national roaming, and would have enabled third-party providers to offer broadband services using fixed line incumbent Algerie Telecom’s network (via local loop unbundling [LLU]). According to Algeria’s Press Service, the government submitted the amendment bill to the NPC in February 2013, and the document was subsequently examined by parliament in April. The country’s telecoms watchdog Autorite de Regulation de la Poste et des Telecoms (ARPT) said in a report released in the same month that ‘the legislation governing the sector of Post, Telecommunications and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will lead, if passed by Parliament, to weakening regulation’. The watchdog also stated that the proposed amendment will also result in ‘the exclusion of certain activities related to the telecoms sector from control and arbitration… [and] affect the control unit and its coherence.’ Sources familiar with the matter claim that the withdrawal of the telecoms bill may delay the launch of 3G in the country. The Algerian Consumer Federation, however, announced that if the 3G networks are not launched as planned (by 5 December 2013), the agency will call for a sit-in with the Ministry of Posts, IT and Communications (MPTIC).