Telecom Egypt will be awarded a 4G mobile licence next year, according to the country’s telecoms minister.
The state-owned operator, which holds the monopoly on fixed-line services in the country, was granted a unified licence last year for $350 million. This will allow TE to provide mobile services alongside its fixed offering, although it has not yet begun offering services.
TE’s unified licence would require it to share infrastructure with other providers in order to offer mobile services, and disputes over licensing arrangements are reportedly stalling the launch. Another issue is that TE holds a 45% stake in Vodafone Egypt, and may have to divest this holding if it launches a mobile offering as this would bring the two firms into competition.
Vodafone Egypt currently leads the market with a 40% share, while Mobinil takes second place with 33% and Etisalat third with 25%. TE’s unified licence would enable all three of these operators to enter the fixed-line space if they so desire.
Last month TE voted in a board member Osama Yassin as its new CEO, suggesting that a new strategy with regard to mobile could follow.