Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel) is the latest big name to be considering a bid for Egypt’s third mobile licence, according to Qatari press reports. Q-Tel is currently exploring ‘several investment opportunities in the region as part of its expansion plan’, Dr Nasser Marafih, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, told the Peninsula daily. Egypt’s National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) says 18 companies have paid USD25,000 for tender documents for the auction of the GSM licence already. Etisalat of the UAE, MTC of Kuwait and South Africa’s MTN are all planning to bid and, despite previous comments that incumbent fixed line operator Telecom Egypt would not be allowed to participate, it has been reported that the telco has been given tacit authority to enter the tender. Interested parties have until 17 April to submit their proposals and pay a USD4.4 million bond guarantee. To qualify for the licence, foreign bidders must partner with an Egyptian entity.