With Egypt’s mobile network operators (MNOs) required to confirm whether they will take up the offer of a 4G licence by today, the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) has confirmed it will not extend the deadline. According to Daily News Egypt, citing an unnamed official at the NTRA, requests from the nation’s cellcos for both a longer period to consider the concession offer, as well as for the ability to pay the licence fee in instalments, have fallen on deaf ears.
As it stands, Vodafone Egypt, Orange Egypt and Etisalat Misr have until 12.00pm on 22 September to make a final decision as to whether they will say yes to the 4G licences offered to them, with the prices having been set at EGP3.5 billion (USD394 million) for both Vodafone and Orange and EGP4.5 billion for Etisalat Misr. Should none of the three aforementioned operators apply for a concession, it has been suggested that the Egyptian authorities could offer them to other companies that have expressed an interest in entering the local wireless market.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, fixed line incumbent Telecom Egypt became the first company to formally acquire a concession allowing it to offer 4G technology earlier this month. It agreed to pay EGP7.08 billion for its 4G concession in total, paying EGP5.2 billion of that upfront, with the remainder to be paid in instalments over a four-year period.