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Missed opportunity

Feb 26,2014 - Last updated at Feb 26,2014

Jordan missed a unique opportunity to have a 4th mobile operator who would have introduced 4G LTE technology to the market and help modernise and shape the ICT sector.

The TRC wasted 15 months since the Council of Ministers decided to do so in November 2012. They took 11 months to prepare the bid documents, allowing the three incumbents to oppose the process and derail it.

They then took more than four months to examine two bids from Kulacom (using SK Telecom, the most advanced 4G LTE operator globally) and Amerifone, giving the incumbents more time to do their tricks.

The MOICT and TRC now want to invite bidders again so that the defying incumbents can bid after they decided to boycott the first round.

By the time they get done, the TRC will have wasted another year and the incumbents would have achieved their objective of “milking 3G” before they introduce the new technology. This happened once before when the same incumbents delayed the introduction of 3G for four years.

Jordanians and Jordan lost forever a great opportunity to introduce a 4th operator who would have forced the incumbents to invest in the sector and improve quality and service.

The Treasury lost hundreds of millions because the 4th operator and the incumbents would have paid for the needed spectrum at fair prices instead of the minimum price that will be paid by the incumbents as they control the process, like they did for 3G.

What a waste of time, opportunity and advantage!

More than 200 networks in 90 countries deploy 4G LTE, but we have to wait long before we deploy it because we simply cannot go against the “big 3” controlling the destiny of the Jordanian mobile sector.

The minister of ICT and the TRC chairman are attending the Mobile World Congress this week in
Barcelona. I wonder what they have to say to their international colleagues there about the delay in introducing 4G LTE technology in a country that was once proud of its ICT
advancement and ranking.

Hazim Alaeddin,
Amman

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