Following in the footsteps of Orange Egypt, fellow Egyptian mobile network operators (MNOs) Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Misr have both now signed on the dotted line for 4G licences, less than a month after opting not to apply for a concession under the initial terms set out by the government.
Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) confirmed the award of both licences in two separate press releases, revealing that Vodafone Egypt had agreed to pay EGP335 million (USD37 million), while Etisalat Misr will pay EGP535.5 million. In a report regarding the matter, Bloomberg cites the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s (NTRA’s) executive president Mostafa Abdul Wahid as confirming that Vodafone Egypt licence includes 5MHz of LTE-suitable spectrum, while Etisalat secured 10MHz, explaining the difference in the prices of the two concessions. It is understood that the 4G deal also included the renewal of both Vodafone and Etisalat’s existing 2G and 3G licenses through to 2031.
Alongside the updated mobile concessions, both MNOs also agreed to pay out for licences that will allow them to offer fixed line services over the infrastructure belonging to Telecom Egypt; these ‘virtual fixed line’ licences will cost each operator EGP11.262 million.
In an e-mailed statement quoted by Bloomberg, Etisalat said of the licence award: ‘We thank the efforts of NTRA to provide a new service to Egyptian customers which is in line with Etisalat Misr’s strategy and which wouldn’t have taken place without enough spectrum to operate 4G.’ For its part, Vodafone Egypt’s CEO Stefano Gastaut, was cited as saying: ‘The terms under which we have signed an agreement last night are different from the terms three weeks ago, and we consider the new terms completely satisfactory to be able to launch top quality 4G services.’