January 18, 2019

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INT drops restrictions on TT, incumbent opts for status quo

A re-interpretation of Tunisia’s Telecommunications Code has granted state-backed incumbent Tunisie Telecom (TT) greater flexibility to offer multi-play bundles and market fixed broadband services directly to the public, Tunisie Haut Debit reports. The provider is now permitted to bundle mobile, IPTV, fixed telephony and DSL or fibre-based broadband services and is expected to develop such offerings shortly.

Facilitating the move was a re-reading of Tunisia’s primary piece of legislation for the sector, the Telecommunications Code, rather than a modification of the legislation or the allocation of a new licence. Hichem Besbes, head of the National Telecommunications Authority (Instance Nationale des Telecommunications, INT) noted: ‘According to the former interpretation of the Telecommunications Code, Tunisie Telecom was not able to sell bundled offers including fixed and mobile telephony and fixed and mobile broadband. Before 2011, the operator was [also] banned from marketing fixed internet directly to the general public.’ Mr Besbes stressed, however, that INT would not allow the re-interpretation of the law to give TT an unfair advantage in the market, stating that ‘convergent offers which could come into being as a result of this market situation must be replicable.’

For its part, TT has said that it will continue to operate under the existing framework for now, offering broadband services via partnerships with other ISPs. In this way, the telco explained it would avoid cannibalising its user base by indirectly competing with itself.

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