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GSMA Calls for Renewed Talks on 4G Licences in Egypt

The GSMA has called for a renewed dialogue between the Egyptian authorities and the country’s mobile industry after the offering of 4G licences failed to attract any bids from Egypt’s three mobile operators.

The country’s mobile operators have expressed their willingness to support and invest in 4G in Egypt if sufficient spectrum is allocated, at a fair price, so that 4G services can be operated efficiently and enable customers to enjoy significantly faster speeds.

“We urge the Egyptian government to increase the amount of spectrum offered to mobile operators to facilitate the speedy roll-out of 4G services in Egypt” said John Giusti, GSMA’s Chief Regulatory Officer. “The GSMA firmly believes revised licence conditions arrived at through a transparent, consultative process with the industry would better serve consumers and enhance the development of the telecoms sector in Egypt.”

It is widely recognised that a sufficient amount of spectrum is a necessity to justify investment into any new 4G network. The International Telecommunication Union emphasises that abundant spectrum will be essential to promoting competition and innovation in telecommunications markets.

Based on the GSMA’s international experience, the total amount of spectrum assigned to each operator for 4G needs to be in the range of 2x30MHz to 2x60MHz, across a range of coverage and capacity bands, with a minimum contiguous bandwidth of 2x10MHz in each band. In contrast, only 2x2.5MHz to 2x5MHz were proposed to mobile operators by the Egyptian authorities in the recent 4G licence offering. It is also essential that the price of spectrum access is appropriate to the national market and takes into account the investment necessary to provide robust networks to enable the delivery of the long-term social and economic benefits of mobile broadband.

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