Telecom regulator delays fourth mobile license

Just days after the CEO of the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) said his organization would announce details of a fourth mobile license, the announcement has been delayed once again.

Hesham al-Alayli said Sunday that the NTRA would announce the details of Egypt’s long-awaited fourth mobile license Wednesday, but today the website of state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram said that the conference would be delayed until next week to keep other telecom companies abreast of the decision.

The mobile license would be operated by the state-owned Telecom Egypt, which also owns half of Vodafone, another mobile phone operator.

The three existing companies, Mobinil, Vodafone and Etisalat have all objected to the new mobile license, saying that they will not be able to compete with the state company. Telecom Egypt will retain exclusive rights to build fiber optic networks.

Telecom Egypt will use existing infrastructure, while the existing mobile companies will be able to establish landline services, according to previous negotiations.

The communications and information technology sector makes up about four percent of Egypt’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to a 2013 report by the General Authority for Investment.

According to the same report, mobile penetration is over 100 percent.  

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