Egypt’s telecoms operator puts off 4G meeting until next week

Egypt’s telecoms regulator National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) said Monday it would postpone a board meeting to discuss possible scenarios of using 4G frequencies to next week.

The decision to postpone the meeting is due to official holidays, the New Islamic Year and the 6th of October War anniversaries during the current week, an official in NTRA said.

NTRA’s board is expected to agree on how to launch the available fourth generation frequencies before mid-October, the official added.

The NTRA has three scenarios to go for, the source said. The first is to bring negotiations back on track with existing mobile operators in Egypt with pledges to provide more frequencies to match their demands. The second is to sell all the available frequencies to Telecom Egypt, the country’s landline monopoly, to be able to provide the 4G services exclusively.

For the third option, which is most likely to happen, is to put up the licences in a global tender, the source explained.

The GSMA has called Friday for a renewed dialogue between the Egyptian authorities and the country’s mobile industry after the offering of 4G licences failed to attract any bids from Egypt’s three mobile operators.

The GSMA understands the existing mobile operators are ready to support and invest in 4G in Egypt if sufficient spectrum is allocated, at a fair price, so that 4G services can be operated efficiently and enable customers to enjoy significantly faster speeds.It is essential that the price of spectrum access is appropriate to the national market and takes into account the investment necessary to provide robust networks to enable the delivery of the long-term social and economic benefits of mobile broadband.

The total amount of spectrum assigned to each operator for 4G needs should be in the range of 2x30MHz to 2x60MHz, across a range of coverage and capacity bands, with a minimum contiguous bandwidth of 2x10MHz in each band. In contrast, only 2×2.5MHz to 2x5MHz were proposed to mobile operators by the Egyptian authorities in the recent 4G licence offering.