AMMAN — Zain Jordan will invest around JD76 million in 2013 to upgrade its infrastructure and services, Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Al Hanandeh said in a meeting with the press last week.

He stressed the importance of consistency in legislation governing the telecom sector as changes negatively affects the operators in the market as well as investments.

Noting that the Jordanian market is saturated and the number of mobile subscribers exceeds that of the population, he said there is no need for a fourth mobile operator but rather for new services and upgrading existing ones, which will help increase operators and government’s revenues.

“The already existing companies face challenges in terms of higher electricity costs and a drop in revenues generated from voice services, international calls and from SMSs,” he indicated.

“International SMSs for example is a dying business as mobile holders download apps from the Internet such as WhatsApp and others, connect to the Internet and make international calls and send SMSs for free,” Hanandeh explained, calling for regulating the commercial use of such apps.

Mobile penetration in Jordan reached 138 per cent by the end of September of this year, with about 8.767 million mobile subscriptions, according to official figures..

Last month, the TRC said three local companies showed interest in obtaining licences to provide mobile telecommunications, a move that Hanandeh opposed.