Jordanians won’t be charged for making phone calls via apps like Skype and WhatsApp, the Kingdom’s telecoms watchdog said.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) said the decision not to impose a levy on Internet calls came after TRC officials met to discuss the matter with the CEOs of Jordan’s three main mobile operators.
“The TRC’s council of commissioners met the CEOs of Zain, Orange, and Umniah … The meeting concluded with the decision not to impose any fees on the use of Internet apps to make phone calls over the Internet,” the TRC said in statement.
Much like their counterparts around the world, Jordan’s mobile operators have seen their revenues squeezed by the rise of free communication apps like WhatsApp, which by some estimates has more than 3 million users in Jordan.
Mobile operators have expressed their frustration at what they see as unfair competition posed by messaging apps. “Over-the-top players are not investing, are not paying taxes, and are using our networks and infrastructure to jeopardize and cannibalize part of our revenues. In the end, we are the ones that are investing massively in the Kingdom,” Orange Jordan CEO Jerome Henique told Venture in an interview published earlier this year. “What we want is to go for a fair regulation or focus that matches both customer and industry expectations.”
Other governments in the region have moved to shore up mobile operator revenues. Saudi Arabia, for instance, recently blocked voice and video calling on Facebook’s Messenger service.