Zohra Derdouri, the Algerian Minister of Post and Information Technology and Communication, said in an interview with Algeria Press Service (APS) that 3G services will not be launched in the country on 1 December 2013 as previously announced. Agence Ecofin reports that although the decree issuing the final 3G licences to the three successful bidders – Mobilis, Ooredoo Algeria (Nedjma) and Djezzy – was signed on 2 December 2013, it will take time for the operators to submit their offers to telecoms regulator Autorite de Regulation de la Poste et des Telecoms (ARPT) for approval. The regulator then has to assign frequencies and blocks of numbers suitable for 3G services to the cellcos. As such, commercial services are unlikely to be made available before ‘late December 2013’. Further, Mrs Derdouri revealed that the Algerian government is also planning to introduce ‘fixed mode 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) ‘services in January 2014.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in October 2013 the ARPT issued interim 3G licences to all three applicants 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.