Telecom Egypt blocked from acquiring Orascom IT units

8 Oct 2009

Egypt’s communications minister, Tarek Kamel, has stated that the government will not allow fixed line state-owned incumbent Telecom Egypt (TE) to acquire two technology units from Orascom Telecom, Reuters reports. The state argues that such a purchase could hinder competition, with Mr Kamel noting: ‘We will not allow it because it [TE] will be too dominant in the market. It would exceed 90% of the capacity and I would be hesitant to allow that.’ The revelation comes after reports in February 2009 that TE had submitted an undisclosed bid for ISP LINKdotNET and software development service provider Link Egypt to parent company Orascom Telecom; Orascom is thought to want to divest the units as part of its strategy to focus on its GSM business. The communications minister has instead indicated that he hopes to see bids for the two companies from the private sector, although he did not highlight any potential bidders. One company that has, however, been linked with the possible purchase of LINKdotNET and Link Egypt is the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, MobiNil.