Algerian telecoms watchdog the Autorite de Regulation de la Poste et des Telecoms (ARPT) issued the final licences for the provision of 3G services in the country to all three applicants — Mobilis, Ooredoo Algeria (Nedjma) and Djezzy – on 3 December 2013. News agency Agence Ecofin reports that Mohamed Toufik Bessa, head of ARPT, has also revealed that, in order to save time, the regulator agreed to allow ‘operators to submit their 3G offers for consideration’, with these offers subsequently validated on the same day. Further, the ARPT assigned frequencies and blocks of numbers, suitable for 3G+ technology, to all licensees. 3G services are now expected to be launched commercially on 17 December 2013.
However, some of the operators have reportedly expressed concerns about the obligation for subscribers to change their mobile numbers in order to use the new mobile broadband service. Ooredoo Algeria’s director Joseph Ged stated that it will be difficult for customers to change their SIM cards whenever they want to access the 3G service. In addition to being expensive, he said that it constitutes a double subscription to the same operator. The Algerian Consumer Association has expressed the same opinion, while operators Mobilis and Djezzy have reportedly refrained from commenting on the matter.