Algeria to provide 3G license once Djezzy issue settled

Telecoms

Algerian Minister of Post, Information and Communication Technologies Moussa Benhamadi said Sunday that 3G licenses would be allotted once an agreement is reached over Russian telecom firm Vimpelcom's local unit Djezzy.

Benhamadi told the national radio that the Ministry of Finance should resume in the upcoming weeks the talks to reach an agreement over the purchase of Djezzy's 51 percent stake.

The Russian telecom giant acquired Djezzy last year as part of a 6-billion-U.S.-dollar deal to buy assets of Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom, but the Algerian government demanded a majority stake in the unit.

Algerian Minister of Finance Karim Djoudi has already stated that "Negotiations with Vimpelcom are ongoing. Until now the price has not been specified. We will work in these negotiations to set the real value."

Benhamadi further indicated that the competent authorities have been crafting the book of specification of the 3G since last December.

The minister excluded the possibility of allotting a permit for a fourth mobile phone operator, saying that the existing three operators, Djezzy, Nedjma and state-run Mobilis, are currently covering the local mobile market.

He specified that the government plans to create a digital industry in the North African nation, as internet service will be provided to all households, schools and enterprises as by 2014.

Meanwhile, the official said the state-run Algerie Telecom is due to provide internet service for political parties running for the parliamentary elections in May and assist them to set up their own websites to promote their programs online.