MobiNil still considering whether to enter fixed line market

6 Nov 2014

Egyptian mobile network operator MobiNil could opt out of the unified license scheme recently approved by authorities, Reuters reports, citing comments made by the cellco’s CEO. It is understood that MobiNil is considering its options, with it said to be seeking both greater clarity on the concession terms, as well as an improved price. Commenting on the matter, MobiNil chief executive Yves Gauthier said: ‘We are studying [the unified license] but the price is high compared to the revenue you can generate.’ In response to a question about whether the company planned to enter the fixed line sector he added: ‘It could be, but today we didn’t make the decision yet … we will have a final position I would say in the coming three to four weeks.’ With regards to the terms of the unified license, meanwhile, Gauthier said: ‘The question is, what are the possibilities and the rights we will have [on the fixed network]? Are we able to be our own access network? Are we able to charge a fee on the network? … Is the network we pay for going to be fibre optic? … Are we allowed to do [voice-over-IP] VoIP? … These are some of the key questions we need to address with the regulator.’

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in April 2014 it was revealed that Egypt’s three mobile network operators – Vodafone Egypt, MobiNil and Etisalat Misr – would each be required to pay EGP100 million (USD13.9 million), in addition to an annual fee, for a unified licence under which they would be allowed to offer services over Telecom Egypt’s fixed infrastructure. While the state subsequently announced in September 2014 that the unified license regime had gone live, last month reports emerged suggesting that it had yet to come into full effect; continued delays were said to have come about in light of the fact that some issues remain unresolved with regards to the regulatory plans. According to communications minister Atef Helmy, the local telecoms regulator was at that date still finalising certain details related to the licensing scheme, though the unified concession itself was expected to be activated within weeks. ‘The work is going on and we are expecting within the coming few weeks to be able to finalise everything and announce it,’ the minister was cited as saying.

Egypt, Orange Egypt