Nytex

In Brief: Algerian government adopts new telecoms bill. 

Algeria’s government has passed a new telecoms law, the Code of Posts and Electronic Communications, which includes an obligation for fixed line incumbent Algerie Telecom (AT) to open its unbundled local loops to alternative operators, in addition to granting extra powers to the telco to undertake widespread monitoring of all international phone calls. Domestic news source ALG24 writes that the Council of Ministers also voted to ‘strengthen the authority of the post and electronic communications regulator’ via the establishment of a new Radio Frequency Management Agency, which will monitor communications.

***Nepal’s state-backed fixed and mobile operator Nepal Telecom (NT) has launched the country’s first commercial 4G LTE network. According to a report from the Himalayan Times, 4G coverage is so far limited to 308 base transceiver stations (BTS) in the Kathmandu Valley and 25 BTS in Pokhara. While services are currently only available to NT’s post-paid customers, a pre-paid offering is due to be added on 4 February. The telco says its new 4G users can expect download rates of up to 32.4Mbps. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that NT had 14.73 million GSM and CDMA mobile subscribers at the end of September 2016. It is using 1800MHz spectrum for its new LTE network; rival operator Ncell is expected to launch its own 4G service in the coming weeks.

***Paltel is set to have both its fixed and mobile licences extended for a further 20 years at a cost of USD290 million, after reaching a deal with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). According to the PNA’s Minister of Finance, Paltel will pay half of the amount when the agreement is signed this week (4 January), with the remainder to be paid in four instalments over a two-year period; these payments will be made every six months. Paltel is set to have both its fixed and mobile licences extended for a further 20 years at a cost of USD290 million, after reaching a deal with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

***Argentina has loosened regulations to allow more competition in its telecoms sector and widen internet penetration. A government decree published , declared that the government hopes its actions will attract billions of dollars in investments.Companies will no longer be barred from simultaneously providing cable TV, internet, fixed line and mobile phone services.Satellite TV company DirecTV will, for example, be allowed to sell internet services while cable operator Cablevision SA gets the green light to enter the 4G mobile telephone market.

***A dispute between the Mexican government and Rivada Networks, which was excluded from the country’s wholesale wireless project, is heading for the courts. Mexico is threatening to sue Rivada Networks and its Irish CEO, alleging they have libelled the country’s Secretary of Communications and Transport (SCT) over how a 20-year contract for the Red Compartida was awarded.
Rivada is also threatening to take the decision to US and Mexican courts.