Telecom Egypt awaits licence to launch mobile services

Tamim Elyan, Sunday 12 May 2013

The company is ready to start mobile services in July once it receives the licence approval from the government regulator

Telecom Egypt

Telecom Egypt, Egypt’s only fixed-line operator, said on Sunday that it is ready to launch mobile services by July once the industry regulator awards it a mobile operating licence.

Ina statement sent to the stock exchange on Sunday, the company, which is seeking to launch mobile phone services to ease pressure from declining fixed-line subscriptions, said it will move forward with technical tests this week.

"[The CEO] said that the company has plans to start work in July and he has stated before that Telecom Egypt is ready to launch the service once it gets the licence," the company statement said.

The Egyptian government is planning to allow Telecom Egypt to provide mobile phone services and at the same time the three existing mobile operators - Mobinil, Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Misr – will be allowed to provide landline services.

The government regulator, the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA), assigned a German company to price the new licences, and is expected to conclude its work by mid-June.

Telecom Egypt, which is 80 percent state-owned, has seen its annual profits in 2012 drop by 13 percent to LE2.61 billion compared to LE2.99 billion a year earlier, due to rising expenses and declining land-line subscriptions.

The Cairo-based company received a draft licence that it said is currently discussing with the regulator.

The anticipated licence will be a virtual licence by which Telecom Egypt will use the existing infrastructure of competing operators, while mobile operators use its landline network infrastructure.

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