Egypt telecoms watchdog starts 4G licence meetings with mobile operators

Egypt’s National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) started Monday a series of meetings with representatives of Vodafone Egypt, Orange Egypt and Etisalat Misr.

The meetings will continue until next Wednesday, aiming to tackle the three mobile operators’ remarks, inquiries, and reservations on the 4G licence acquisition, a senior source said to Amwal Al Ghad.

The Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) calls on all involved parties to adhere to the prescribed schedule and submit all their inquiries on the 4G licence acquisition before next week maximum.

Mobile operators’ remarks were mainly about the validity duration of the licence which varies from one company to another despite the fact they all pay almost similar amounts of money to obtain this licence. They all demanded that equality must be achieved regarding this point.

The three mobile companies also hinted that Telecom Egypt has to sell its shares in Vodafone Egypt which accounts for 45 percent prior to launching 4G services.

The Egyptian Cabinet previously approved ensuring licences for new 4G frequencies in accordance with the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA)’s standards. The NTRA will be responsible for the preparation of licences including the financial and technical commitments in compliance with rules and regulations of Communications Regulation Act No. 10/2003.

This comes within the framework of telecommunication sector development plan that is expected to put Egypt on top of countries providing 4G telecommunications services. The decision aims to increase government resources and improve services provided to citizens.

4G is the fourth generation of mobile telecommunication technology and offers dramatically higher data transmission speeds than its predecessor, 3G, which is currently in use in Egypt.

NTRA asked both Orange and Vodafone to pay 3.54 billion pounds for a 4G license, half of which must be paid in US dollars. The two mobile operators were also asked to pay 100 million pounds for a license to offer landline service and 1.8 billion pounds for the right to offer international calls.

Telecom Egypt is supposed to pay 7 billion pounds for the license while other mobile operators will pay a total of 12 billion pounds to be able to operate the 4G services distributed as follows: 3.540 billion pounds will be paid by Vodafone, the same amount for Orange and 5 billion by Etisalat Egypt.