Orange, TRC agree 900MHz licence extension terms

31 Oct 2016

Jordanian telecoms watchdog the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) and French-owned operator Orange Jordan have signed an agreement to settle an arbitration case brought by the cellco against the regulator regarding the renewal of Orange’s 900MHz spectrum licence. As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in April 2014 Orange balked at the TRC’s asking price of JOD156.4 million (USD220.1 million) for a 15-year extension to its licence and filed suits with local and international courts in protest. In order to avoid closing down its 2G services, in May that year the cellco agreed a compromise with the TRC, paying JOD52.1 million to renew its licence for five years, with the option to extend its concession for a further ten years at a price to be determined at a later date.

Under the new agreement, the TRC will extend Orange’s 900MHz permission for a further ten years, starting from 9 May 2019. The renewed licence will be technology neutral for the entirety of its total 15-year period (i.e. including the original five-year extension from May 2014), and the operator will pay a total of JOD156.38 million for the authorisation. In addition to the JOD52.1 million already paid, Orange will pay the remaining JOD104.25 million in two equal instalments, payable by 8 May 2019 and 8 May 2024. The agreement also stipulates that Orange will roll out 100 new mobile sites outside of Amman by May 2019, in return for which Orange will be granted exemptions from the payment of annual spectrum returns for a cumulative period of six years.