Algerian mobile operator Djezzy, a subsidiary of Egypt-based Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH), has secured ‘special approval’ from the Bank of Algeria to purchase 3G equipment, Agence Ecofin reports. According to the article, the permission is ‘a special dispensation against the ban on Djezzy since 2010 to transfer currency abroad’ and will allow Djezzy to deploy its 3G network by December 2013, as stipulated by the company’s provisional licence.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in October 2013 the ARPT issued interim 3G licences to all three applicants – Mobilis, Nedjma and Djezzy – after evaluating their financial and technical proposals. Final licences, incorporating the relevant coverage obligations, are expected to be granted after the payment of licence fees, satisfaction of the conditions indicated in the tender documents and receipt of clearances and approvals from various state authorities. Towards the end of October, however, local media reports suggested that Djezzy had failed to obtain a re-conveyance from the Bank of Algeria, which is one of the key requirements behind the 3G licence award; the company reportedly failed to address an outstanding debt of USD193 million in tax relief.