Algeria: Draft Law On Post And Telecoms Services In Focus

date 2016/11/28 views 326 comments 0

icon-writer By: Hassan Houicha /*/ English Version: Med.B.

Unbundling, portability, virtual operator, more prerogatives for the ARPT and creation of the postal bank are among the main innovations introduced as part of the draft law on Post and Telecoms services in Algeria.

Thirteen years later, here comes the time to revolutionize the world of telecommunications in Algeria through a law able to revitalize the market. This is at least what promises the new text of which “Echorouk” holds a copy. The rules governing the activities of the Post and telecommunications and those of information and communication technologies are dealt with in this text. Essentially, amendments and other improvements are made in order to catch up with developments in new technologies in the country. Therefore, unbundling, portability, virtual operator, new prerogatives for the ARPT and the Post are the main axes of the bill to be submitted to the parliamentarians for a free-wheeling debate and possible amendments.

The bill, introducing a postal and telecommunications and information and communication technology police, brings many novelties, including those related to unbundling which will inevitably end the monopoly of Algeria Telecom on The local loop.

This will enable any new telephony or Internet operator to offer its own services by installing new wires that arrive at the subscriber's premises. Unbundling will also facilitate the introduction of broadband Internet and should attract investors.

*The prerogatives of the ARPT to be bolstered

The prerogatives of the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ARTP) are somewhat reinforced by this new text, which this time limits the mandate of the members of the council, including the president to fix it at four years, renewable only once.

The Regulatory Authority is, of course, administered by a Board and managed by a Director General with a President appointed by the President of the Republic in person. That is to say the importance of this body, which will gain in consistency with the introduction of the notion of "dominance". 

This will enable it, for example, to supervise any operator or group of operators in a "monopoly" situation in order to promote competition which will, in principle, allow a better offer to the consumer. 

"The ARPT is responsible for preventing and correcting, where appropriate, the abuse of a dominant position and for ensuring the application of pricing to encourage competition", it is stipulated in a clear way. And also: "To ensure the sharing of telecommunications infrastructures while respecting the right of ownership.

A support fund for the universal services of the Post, telecommunications and information and communication technologies is to be set up to this effect and will be  managed by the Postal, Telecommunications and Technology Regulatory Authority for Information and communication. 

The new law cites the right to request portability by stipulating that "operators of public telecommunications networks must allow their subscribers, if they so request so in writing, to benefit from the portability procedure". 

The text also addresses the possibility of existing for a virtual operator and even specifies that "mobile operators of virtual networks have the obligation to apply tariffs for services provided to end-users in line with pricing principles as defined by the Regulatory Authority and laid down by regulation ". The operators of the public telecommunications networks can, according to the new law, "lease infrastructures and / or fiber optic supports from alternative operators".

*Setting up of an Observatory and a Council

The National Postal, Telecommunications and Information and Communication Technologies Observatory, by the abbreviation Optic, is created by the Minister responsible for the Post, Telecommunications and Information and Communication Technologies, referred to as "the Observatory". 

It will serve as an instrument for evaluating activities related to the Post, telecommunications and information and communication technologies. The same applies to the National Council for Post, Telecommunications and Information and Communication Technologies, which will be set up in the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information and Communication Technologies With the abbreviation CNPTIC.

This body is entrusted with advising on strategic options and public policies for the development of the Post, telecommunications and information and communication technologies.

The National Council shall be made up of representatives of administrations, economic and / or scientific and technical establishments, national personalities chosen for their competence in the fields of postal services, telecommunications and information and communication technology. Communication as well as professional associations and / or users.

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