Telecom Egypt Says Has No Plans to Sell its 45% Stake in Vodafone

In case of obtaining the long-awaited integrated license, the Landline monopoly Telecom Egypt – TE (ETEL.CA) asserted on Thursday that it is not considering to give up its stake in Vodafone Egypt which amounts to 45%.

Mohamed Al-Nawawi, CEO of Telecom Egypt, said his firm has no intention to give up its stake in Vodafone Egypt as long as it does not receive official requests from the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) or Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) .

During bidding for the third mobile license in Egypt in 2006, TE had to give up its membership in Vodafone’s board of directors.

Telecom Egypt announced last August that an integrated license allowing the company to provide mobile services to boost sales growth is “imminently around the corner.”

The license that was expected to be issued in mid-July has been delayed by political upheaval following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, Telecom Egypt Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Amin El-Nawawy said today in a phone interview.

“We have a near-final draft,” El-Nawawy said. While “obviously some of the bigger landscape issues that have been happening in Egypt late in June and July might have slowed things down a little bit,” the company is “still very optimistic that the government will soon be deciding a date for the issuance.”

Telecom Egypt, 80 percent owned by the state, has been facing revenue pressure as more people switch to mobile service from fixed-line phones, while slower business activity has led to fewer calls abroad. Second-quarter revenue from voice services fell 15 percent from a year earlier, the Cairo-based company said today.

The government is considering new rules to allow Egypt’s four telecommunications providers to offer mobile, fixed-line and broadband services under a single license. The move would enable the Egyptian Co. for Mobile Services, which operates the Mobinil brand, as well as Vodafone Group Plc (VOD)’s local division and Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (ETISALAT)’s Etisalat Misr unit to offer landlines, while Telecom Egypt would add wireless services.