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French Version

More telecom rate - reductions await Jordanians

Land to Mobile Traffic Dynamics in Jordan" provides detailed figures on traffic patterns between Fastlink and MobileCom and Jordan Telecom Co (JTC)

JORDAN (Star) - AMMAN (Star)-The Arab Advisors Group has issued a report highlighting the telecommunications sector in Jordan. The report, entitled "Land to Mobile Traffic Dynamics in Jordan", provides detailed figures on traffic patterns between the two GSM operators-Fastlink and MobileCom and Jordan Telecom Co (JTC)-the Kingdom's sole fixed-line provider.
According to the report Fastlink received 88 percent more calls from landlines in 2000 than 2001. The mobile company earned JD 21.7 million ($30.5 million) from Jordan Telecom for these fees while paying no more than an estimated JD 2.5 million ($3.5 million) in interconnection fees in 2001.

Jawad Abbassi, president of the group, detailed how mobile operators have a vested interest in keeping current interconnection fees the same since it provides an incentive for people who call mobile numbers a lot to get mobile phones instead of using landlines.

"JTC wants the big asymmetry between fixed-to-mobile and mobile-to-land interconnection rates reduced or taken out all together," he said. "The current interconnection rates in Jordan have a major effect on the traffic patterns between the networks."

The report indicates land to mobile interconnection rate should be set at a maximum of 70 fils, a 41 percent reduction from the current rates. The 70 fils rate is currently implemented in mobile-to-mobile calls between the two GSM operators.

Abbassi noted Jordan's Telecom Regulatory Commission, "should insure fixed-to-mobile call rates are reduced by a discount that mirrors the subtraction in the interconnection fees," something not presently happening.

The report also notes that Fastlink is pricing its mobile-to-fixed calls at near ten times the rate of the mobile-to-land interconnection rate agreed with JTC. "Fastlink's pricing is part of its clear strategy to be an alternative network in Jordan, where it [acts as a] substitute for the fixed lines," the report concludes. It indicates such a strategy appears to be working in one way or another.

Abbassi said the long-term interest of Jordanian consumers and telecommunications market lies in cost-based pricing and competition. "The onus is on the operators and the JTRC to insure the market moves away from interconnection rates that are not 100 percent cost-based," he added.

The Arab Advisors Group is a specialized research, analysis and consulting company focused on the communications and Internet markets throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Amman,04May2002
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