Orange Egypt will sign 4G licence deal today

Mobile operator Orange Egypt will sign today a 4G licence deal with Egypt’s telecoms regulator.

Egyptian Minister of Communications Yasser El-Kady will attend the signing ceremony between Orange Egypt and the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA), which will take place at 5:00 pm (3:00 pm GMT).

The three Egyptian mobile operator companies Vodafone, Orange, and Etisalat previously declined to submit applications to buy the fourth-generation (4G) service licences offered by the government in the due date set on Sept 22 by the NTRA.

The NTRA offered 2×5 MHz of 2100- MHz spectrum to Etisalat, 2×5 MHz of 2100- MHz spectrum and 2×2.5 MHz of 1800- MHz spectrum for both Vodafone and Orange but was rejected by the three operators.

As for Telecom Egypt, which recently acquired the licence, NTRA granted the fixed-line incumbent permission to use 2×5 MHz of 1800-MHz spectrum and 2×10 MHz of 700-MHz spectrum for the next 15 years for 7 billion Egyptian pounds.

An official in the NTRA said that BoD decided after a meeting held yesterday to collect 4G licence fees totally in US dollars.

Accordingly, final prices of the licence are expected to exceed what has been announced before due to unstable exchange rates of the dollar against the Egyptian pound.

In its BoD meeting, the NTRA decided to price the 4G licence in US dollars but fees will be collected half in dollars and half in Egyptian Pounds. As for fixed –line licence, fees will be collected upon the same terms. However, mobile operators will have to pay for the international portal licence fully in US dollars

Orange Egypt has requested to renew talks with the NTRA over 4G licence acquisition prior to the NTRA board meeting. Accordingly, the framework adopted by the board will be applied for the operator that requested completing the procedures of obtaining the licence.

The framework is valid until the next board meeting that will be held on October 23 when various alternatives, including the allocation of additional frequencies to Telecom Egypt as well as considering offering 4G licenses in an international bid will be discussed. However, the NTRA did not discuss the possibility of providing extra frequencies to mobile operators which was the main reason they shunned the 4G licence.