Egypt will grant Telecom Egypt a license by mid-2013 to provide mobile services and will later let mobile companies offer fixed-lined services using Telecom Egypt's infrastructure, the industry regulator said.
Landline monopoly Telecom Egypt, 80 per cent owned by the state, has been relying on its data business to boost revenue.
"Telecom Egypt will be granted the right to offer mobile telephone services," Amr Badawy, the executive chairman of Egypt's telecom regulator, said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that the offer would be "executed by mid-2013".
"Mobile companies will also be given the right to get a license to offer fixed-lined services using the infrastructure of Telecom Egypt," he added without giving a timeframe.
Egypt has three mobile operators: Vodafone Egypt, Mobinil, which is controlled by France Telecom , and Dubai-based Etisalat.
Telecom Egypt Chief Executive Mohamed El-Nawawy told Reuters last month that Telecom Egypt was in advanced talks with the government on a deal that would allow it to offer mobile services and added the company could look to set up its own independent network.
Telecom Egypt last month said third-quarter revenue had risen 6 per cent to LE2.48 billion ($401.7 million), against a Reuters forecast for 2.38 billion. Its EBITDA margin of 36.8 per cent was below a Reuters forecast for 41 per cent.
The chairman and chief executive of France Telecom, Stéphane Richard, said last month Egypt's telecoms sector was crowded and could not absorb another player, adding that he was seeking to expand Mobinil services and hoped to get a 4G license soon.