Mobile networks in divided Cyprus to be connected

Mobile networks in divided Cyprus to be connected

Nicosia, June 25, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Kyriacos Kyriacou

Mobile telephony networks and electricity grids in the southern government-controlled areas of Cyprus and in the northern Turkish occupied part of the country will be linked in July, as part of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) agreed between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci last month, the Chairman of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and head of the bicommunal technical committee on entrepreneurial, economic and trade issues  Fidias Pilides has told the Cyprus News Agency.

According to Pilides, both these projects are in the final stages of planning. Pilides said the issue of mobile phone interoperability is the object of intensive consultations between provider companies,  three Greek Cypriot companies and two Turkish Cypriot ones, with a view to arrange the pending technical details, and conclude all the price charging arrangements.

The technical aspect is easy to solve, Pilides noted, adding at the same time that “all sensitivities must be considered. We live in a divided country, there are certain sensitivities that must be taken into consideration,” he said, noting that he does not want to elaborate on this and that “these are matters of legality.”

Asked when interoperability may be achieved, he said that once the exact method has been agreed, “it is a matter of days”.

“Therefore I would say it shouldn’t take more than a week to agree the pending issues, and implementation could follow almost immediately,” he added.

Pilides said that the most recent meeting on this issue was held last week with the participation of the competent technical committees, representatives of the companies and the Commissioner for Telecommunications.

As regards the issue of linking the two electricity grids, Pilides said that there is an agreement and that this is “also a matter of resolving certain technical procedures, not problems, so that it can be implemented”. Asked whether this could be feasible within July, Pilides said “hopefully, yes”.

Asked about the CBM agreed by the leaders for a joint flea market in the moat opposite the Ledra Palace hotel in Nicosia’s buffer zone, Pilides said that work on this proceeds gradually, and all necessary permits have been obtained, including one from the Antiquities Department.

He noted that they also asked the United Nations, which controls the buffer zone, for their approval, adding that news on this CBM should not be expected as soon as developments on mobile telephony and electricity.

Pilides expressed satisfaction with the response shown by graduates from both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot universities to internship programmes for youth from both communities who wish to gain work experience in companies of the other community. He said that applications for these programmes may be submitted until September 4.