Algerian telecoms watchdog the Regulatory Authority for Post and Telecommunications (Autorite de Regulation de la Poste et des Telecoms, ARPT) has accepted three bids for 4G licences submitted by the country’s cellcos Algerie Telecom Mobile (Mobilis), Optimum Telecom Algerie (OTA, Djezzy) and Ooredoo Algeria (Nedjma) by stating that the applications were ‘admissible’, Agence Ecofin reports. Mahgoun Salah, chairman of the 4G licence award committee, revealed that the provisional date for the award of the 4G authorisations is now set for 23 May.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in early January the regulator invited all interested parties to submit their bids for participation in the 4G licence auction, with an initial deadline of 3 April 2016 (subsequently pushed back to 11 April). ICT minister Imane Houda Feraoun disclosed in January the government will grant the licensees a period of three months to obtain the required equipment, with the launch of commercial 4G services expected to take place in the last quarter of 2016. Further, the minister added that under the licence terms and conditions, the cellcos ‘must provide a minimum coverage of 10% in the provinces of their choice in the first four years, and expand to the southern regions of the country within three years’.