The postal and telecommunications regulatory authority (ARPCE) published on July 25, 2023 a notice of call for competition for the provision of the universal service of electronic communications for the coverage, by a public mobile telecommunications network, of localities with low population density.
This notice comes in accordance with the ministerial decree of June 15, 2023 setting the schedule for the execution of the procedure for awarding by call for competition by a public mobile telecommunications network, of localities with low population density.
1. WHAT IS THE UNIVERSAL SERVICE?
The universal service of telecommunications consists of a series of services exhaustively listed by law and subsequent implementing texts and rendered by telecommunications operators, holders of a license to establish and operate a public mobile telecommunications network.
The operators recipients of the call are in accordance with the regulations the operators holding a license to establish and operate a public telecommunications network. These are in this case those operating in mobile telephony.
It is a question of filling the gaps or shortcomings of coverage of localities of the territory for which the deployment of mobile operators is not included in the specifications of their license - and therefore not mandatory - and whose telephone and digital inclusion is required for reasons of citizen equity. Operators are not naturally inclined, indeed, in a competitive market, to deploy in areas with low population density and, therefore, not profitable.
These services, of a defined quality, must also be rendered at an affordable price.
The law defines indeed the universal service of electronic communications as follows:
Art 10 point 17. : Universal service of electronic communications: minimum set of services, including one or more value-added services, defined by regulation, of determined quality which is accessible to the entire population with affordable tariffs on the entire national territory.
2. THE AWARD PROCESS
At the end of the call for competition process organized by ARPCE, will be designated the operator(s) chosen for each lot of localities defined by the call for competition file (DAC).
The compensation of the operator(s) selected is carried out on funds lodged in the Universal Service Support Fund fed by the annual mandatory contributions of postal and telecommunications operators calculated on a percentage of their annual turnover and held by ARPCE in charge of collecting them, the ordering party being the minister in charge of postal and telecommunications. (Article 8 of Law No. 18-04 of May 10, 2018, laying down the rules relating to postal and electronic communications)
The DAC is made available to mobile phone operators who can withdraw it if they wish, at ARPCE’s headquarters until July 30, 2023 against transfer of a sum of 500,000 DA to ARPCE’s bank account.
They have a period of 47 days from the deadline for withdrawal of the call for competition file to send ARPCE requests for clarification on the documents composing the DAC.
The candidate operators must submit their offer on the date coinciding with the seventy-fifth day following the date of publication of the notice of call for competition, i.e. October 8, 2023 before 12 noon, the opening of bids being carried out in public session on the same day.
The operator(s) is (are) selected by ARPCE within a period of sixty-five days following the date of submission of bids, it communicating the results of its evaluation on its WEB site on the day of expiry of this period. The operator(s) are selected according to an evaluation based on a technical and a financial component, whose weighting is indicated in the DAC not made public.
It should be noted that in general, the operator who presents a satisfactory technical file and the lowest compensation request is selected according to the principle of reverse auction. The bidding operators have in turn a period of five (5) days to appeal to ARPCE.
A period of 10 days is granted to it to decide on these appeals. ARPCE communicates the final results to the multisectoral commission in charge of managing the universal service support fund for postal and electronic communications placed under the Minister in charge of telecommunications who chairs it. The process is closed by the publication of the ministerial order, officially validating these results.
3. IN PRACTICE: The operators concerned precisely by the call for tenders are
· Algeria Telecom Mobile operating under the brand Mobilis,
· Optimum Telecom Algeria operating under the brand Djezzy and
· Wataniya Telecom Algeria operating under the brand Oreedoo.
The provinces concerned by this call for tenders are
· Tamenghasset (52 localities)
· Chlef (12 localities)
· Mostaganem (6 localities)
· Laghouat (12 localities)
· Béchar (1 locality) -
· Tindouf (1 locality)
· Béni Abbès (locality) -
· Adrar (1 locality) -
· Timimoun (6 localities) -
· In Salah (4 localities)
· Bordj Badji Mokhtar (6 localities)
· In Guezzam (5 localities)
· El Bayadh (32 localities)
· El Bayadh (16 localities)
· Biskra (15 localities)
· Souk Ahras (23 localities)
· Guelma (13 localities)
· Oum El Bouaghi (4 localities)
· Batna (8 localities)
· El Tarf (19 localities)
· Béjaïa (32 localities)
· Bordj Bou Arréridj (29 localities)
· Touggourt (13 localities)
· El Oued (3 localities)
· El Meghaier (1 locality)
· Ouled Djellal (6 localities)
· Ghardaïa (6 localities) –
· El Meniaâ (2 localities)
· Ouargla (7 localities)
· Tébessa (14 localities)
· Blida (28 localities)
· Bouira (53 localities)
· Khenchela (15 localities)
· Tlemcen (19 localities)
· Naâma (8 localities)
· Aïn Témouchent (33 (localities)
· Tiaret (78 localities)
· Tizi Ouzou (24 localities)
· Djelfa (53 localities)
· Skikda (10 localities) –
· Constantine (2 localities)
· Jijel (9 localities) –
· Mila (5 localities)
· Sétif (23 localities)
· Saïda (14 localities)
· Sidi Bel Abbès (12 localities)
· Médéa (57 localities)
· M’Sila (118 localities))
· Illizi (7 localities)
· Djanet (7 localities)
· Boumerdès (16 localities)
· Tipaza (24 localities)
· Tissemsilt (95 localities)
· Aïn Defla (106 localities)
· Mascara (45 localities)
· Relizane (92 localities)