Telecom Egypt (TE) has become the first operator in the country to acquire a concession allowing it to offer 4G technology, Bloomberg reports. With the fixed line incumbent having agreed to pay EGP7.08 billion (USD806 million) for its 4G concession, it is understood that it has paid EGP5.2 billion of that upfront, with the remainder to be paid in instalments over a four-year period. Local press outlet Ahram Online meanwhile has noted that TE will have the option to extend the 15-year concession for five years for a fee of EGP2 billion, once its initial terms expires. It has also been confirmed that TE will not be required to sell its 45% stake in local cellco Vodafone Egypt as part of the licence terms, with the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) instead saying it will ‘ensure’ competition and governance compliance.
With TE now expected to begin trial operations of its own 4G network within six months of receiving its frequencies, it will reportedly offer 2G and 3G services via other carriers’ networks, and it has been given two months to agree on interconnection rates; should an agreement not be reached the NTRA will reportedly step in to determine the charges. Commenting on its plans, TE’s CEO Tamer Gad Allah was cited as saying: ‘The ability to operate our own mobile services will allow Telecom Egypt to once again focus on growth.’