Egyptian communications minister says unified licence awards expected within ‘weeks, not more’

12 Feb 2015

Egypt’s long-awaited issuing of unified licences to those of the country’s mobile operators that have opted to expand their concessions could take place within weeks, Reuters reports, citing comments made by the country’s communications minister. Responding to a question regarding the timeframe for the awarding of the licences, Atef Helmy, Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, said: ‘We’re talking about weeks, not more, and the fee has been decided and communicated to them – we are asking for [a] fixed line licence for EGP100 million (USD13.1 million).’

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, back in April 2014 it was revealed that Egypt’s three mobile network operators – Vodafone Egypt, MobiNil and Etisalat Misr – would each be offered the option to pay for a unified licence which would allow them to offer services over fixed line incumbent Telecom Egypt’s fixed infrastructure. For its part, Telecom Egypt has agreed to pay EGP2.5 billion for a unified licence allowing it to offer mobile services. While the state subsequently announced in September 2014 that the unified licence regime had gone live, just a month later it was reported that it had still to come into full effect, with continued delays said to have come about as some issues remained unresolved with regards to the regulatory plans. November 2014 meanwhile saw MobiNil indicate that it was still considering whether it would even enter the fixed line market, with it at that date said to be seeking greater clarity on the concession terms, as well as an improved price.