Every year we present the GSMA Government Leadership Award to one government that has implemented best-practice digital policy and telecom regulation to generate positive outcomes in mobile connectivity. The winner will be announced at the GSMA Ministerial Programme during MWC Barcelona. In the following weeks, we will alphabetically present the five shortlisted countries for the 2023 Government Leadership Award. We continue with Jordan.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) of Jordan has dealt with the burdens of COVID-19 through a set of precautionary measures aimed at securing services continuity, quality, resiliency and efficiency. The coming years will see the proliferation of new technologies in fixed and mobile telecommunications markets. TRC has anticipated the growth in demand for digital services and has adopted advanced spectrum management policies that consider the latest international developments and best practices.
To safeguard competition by creating new opportunities for new entrants and developing services, TRC signed on the 11th of August 2022 an agreement with mobile network operators (MNOs) for the introduction of 5G services. The agreement aims to boost competition and investment in the telecommunications sector and support the development of telecom infrastructure at a time when data demand is rising.
Moreover, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship (MoDEE) has launched numerous strategies to support digital inclusion and entrepreneurship.
Policy or regulatory action
To support the 5G roll-out, TRC has awarded the country’s MNOs 100 MHz C-band for 25 years licence term, with a significantly reduced spectrum acquisition fee of 23%. TRC also reconsidered annual spectrum fees and exceptions from custom tax for all 5G network elements. In return, operators are required to roll out their commercial 5G services within 18 months from licencing. The aim is to reach 75% population coverage, concentrating on business areas, airports, industrial ones, stadiums and universities.
TRC took great strides to transfer the status of the digital gap towards digital inclusion for urban and low-populated areas, resulting in 100% 3G and 95% 4G coverage within all populated areas. Moreover, the use of a power grid for FTTH rollout exponentially increased the number of subscribers in the past two years.
TRC adopted share revenue discount incentives during the issuance of service providers’ licences in exchange for connecting the unconnected population and expanding coverage deployments within 300 low-populated locations.
Furthermore, the Sector Reset Agreement signed by all MNOs has annexed 180 base stations build requirements in exchange for a 5-year spectrum licence extension if built within the first three years. To maintain meaningful connectivity and apply digital inclusion across unconnected areas, the agreement also annexed 50 base stations per licencee as a future performance and coverage obligation.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
MoDEE has developed the Digital Transformation Strategy based on the Jordan Vision 2025. Implementing the Strategy will enable accelerated progress in achieving the 17 UN SDGs. Implementing the strategic objectives of digital transformation provides the infrastructure and latest technologies needed to serve individuals and entities and improve government services for all citizens.
The Government of Jordan has developed its National Entrepreneurship Policy to maximise the economic impact of the Jordanian startup ecosystem. This policy statement is the next important step, outlining the needed actions to embed the achievements over the last decade in building the local entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Why it is a good practice
Jordan’s efficient and affordable ICT infrastructure and services enable the country to strengthen its digital economy and achieve inclusive economic competitiveness. These policies significantly impact financial inclusion, poverty alleviation and health improvement.
Furthermore, incentives were chosen in a way that leverages MNOs’ capability to invest more in their networks. This has led to achieving more spectral efficiency and better service quality at affordable cost. The Government has realised the magnitude of changes accompanying the digital transformation process, which include changes in working methods and procedures, skills and competencies required.