Talks between the Egyptian authorities and representatives from Saudi Telecom and Lebara KSA over the possibility of the two companies acquiring a 4G concession have been taking place, Reuters reports, citing comments made by an official from the country’s telecommunications ministry.
‘Officials from Saudi Telecom are looking into investment opportunities in the telecommunication sector in Egypt, especially the 4G mobile services. They will complete their discussions with the Minister of Communication and the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) today,’ the unnamed official said. Further, according to the official Egypt’s telecom minister is also understood to be planning to hold talks with the chairman of Saudi Arabia-based MVNO Lebara KSA, which is among several companies to have expressed an interest in acquiring a 4G licence.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, earlier this month the NTRA was said to have approved revised terms for 4G concessions, with the updated licences sent to operators for them to consider. The decision to update the licence terms came after only fixed line incumbent Telecom Egypt accepted the original terms, with mobile operators Orange Egypt, Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Misr having passed. With the regulator said to have been keen to prioritise existing carriers, the decision to revise the terms was made, and it is understood that the licences were amended to include additional frequencies, though there was no change in the pricing or the condition that 50% of the licence fee payment must be made in US dollars. Operators are believed to have been given until 22 September 2016 to make a decision on whether they will accept the new terms.