Tunisia: More Competitiveness If Information and Communication Technologys are Opened to Competition - Expert

Tunis — "Should Tunisia opt for the liberation of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, particularly when it comes to international calls, the cost of these calls would fall by 50% to 80%, said Carlo Maria Rossotto, Senior ICT Policy Specialist at the World Bank (WB).

According to the latest results of relevant studies conducted by the WB, a liberalisation of telecommunications will also help increase GDP by at least 1%.

Mr. Rossotto said the lack of competition in some segments of the telecommunications market in Tunisia, particularly in terms of international connectivity and Internet bandwidth (transmission rate of communication channel), niches monopolised by "Tunisie Télecom," is the main constraint hindering the development of the ICT sector in the country and slows its integration into the global economy.

The expert called, for that purpose, to strengthen competition and liberalise the segment of international calls through provision of new licenses.

This lack of competition was also identified by national and international experts present at a roundtable meeting held Tuesday by the World Bank, as a constraint for the development of ICT in Tunisia.

Experts, who attended this debate on "Competition in ICT in Tunisia," however, admitted that Tunisia has taken significant steps in the development of ICT. They recommended many reforms to cope with changes in the global telecommunications industry and meet the needs of competitiveness and growth.

Mr. Kamel Saadani, President of the National Telecommunications Authority (INT) called for improving the regulatory framework governing the sector, saying: "the Telecommunications Code and its implementing decrees have to be reviewed entirely."

Pending the revision of the legislation in force, Mr. Saadani said urgent measures should be decided.

Regarding the opening of the ICT market in Tunisia to new competitors, a solution advocated by many experts, Mr. Saadani said "for now, there is no urgent need for a 4th telecom operator, but the issue could be studied."

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