Brief:EU formulating proposal for 25-year mobile licences across Europe 

The European Commission (EC) is working on a proposal which will see all European mobile licences issued for a minimum of 25 years, a move it says will increase investment certainty for operators. According to Reuters, citing a private EU document, the proposal will be published next month and potentially endorsed as early as 2018. Under the provisional plan, the EC would have the power to adopt binding guidance on some conditions of the assignment process, such as the deadlines for spectrum allocation and spectrum sharing. Member states would also be able to jointly organise spectrum auctions to assist with the award of multi-country or pan-EU licences, although this aspect would be voluntary.

***The government of Bangladesh will begin a process to shut down the country’s oldest mobile operator, CDMA-based CityCell, for non-payment of dues,according to an announcement from State Minister for Telecommunications .‘CityCell has defaulted on its dues with the government despite several reminders and so we reached the decision said the State Minister, whilst asking all CityCell subscribers to switch to another operator by 23 August, having extended the deadline from the previously announced date of 16 August. CityCell – part-owned by Singtel of Singapore – had been issued a final warning to pay all its dues worth BDT4.77 billion (USD60.7 million) by 16 August. Another local report says that the government has now cancelled CityCell’s operating licence.

***Egypt’s National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) is making moves to bring to an end a long-running saga involving the issue of 4G licences.The authority has now approved amended 4G licence terms and is preparing to send final 4G licence forms to Egypt’s fixed and mobile operators on Sunday 21 August.The news agency added that only Telecom Egypt had accepted the original terms after the government offered 4G licences to the fixed-line incumbent and Orange Egypt, Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat in June.A related report stated that operators must accept the revised terms by midday on 22 September, indicating that the country is keen to put past delays in issuing 4G licences behind it and quickly move towards deploying infrastructure.

***Apple expanded the availability of carrier billing functionality for iOS apps and services into three additional countries, bringing the total number of countries where the service is available to five.The U.S. vendor this week added Swiss operator Swisscom, Taiwan-based FarEasTone, and Japanese operator KDDI to the list of operators offering carrier billing options for purchases on Apple’s App Store, iTunes, Apple Music, iBooks, and Apple TV services.

***Optimum Telecom Algerie (formerly Orascom Telecom Algeria [OTA]), operating as Djezzy, is aiming to launch 4G LTE services in Algeria this autumn, according to an investment report by Egypt-based parent Global Telecom Holding (GTH, renamed in September 2013 from Orascom Telecom Holding [OTH]).