Announcement of fourth mobile license postponed: Comms ministry

Ahram Online, Wednesday 26 Mar 2014

Details of a new license that will allow Telecom Egypt to use existing private mobile networks in exchange for private networks using its landline system are postponed to 2 April

Egypt’s Ministry of Communications (Photo :Ahram )

Egypt’s Ministry of Communications has postponed to 2 April an international press conference at which will be announced details of the long awaited unified license, according to a ministry statement.

The conference was delayed due to the absence of some heads of mobile operators and the failure of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) to hold its preparatory meeting.

NTRA was supposed to decide on executive regulations for a unified license before the conference but failed to meet upon some unspecified “emergency circumstance.”

Earlier this week, Interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said that details of the fourth virtual mobile licence would be revealed at a press conference Wednesday.

The license will allow Telecom Egypt (TE), which is 80 percent government-owned, to make use of the infrastructure of one of the existing private mobile operators to provide its own mobile services, repackaged under the TE brand, in exchange for wholesale prices paid to the mobile operator.

In return, the universal license will allow Egypt’s three privately-owned mobile operators — the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (Mobinil), Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Egypt — to build a virtual network to provide landline services, using TE’s existing fixed network.

The proposed license will not, however, allow mobile operators to acquire their own international gateway or to build a fiber network similar to TE’s — an issue that the country's three mobile operators must settle in order to have the same rights as TE in terms of equitable competition in Egypt's telecom sector.

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