Egyptian operators are set to launch commercial 4G services this month, the country’s telecoms minister has confirmed.
The announcement by Minister of Communications and Information Technology Yasser ElKady finally draws a line under the long-running question of when 4G services would finally be deployed in Egypt. The minister also stated that the government would make more spectrum frequencies available for operators, but did not reveal when.
Egypt’s path to 4G has hit many setbacks, most notably in September last year when the country’s mobile operators – Etisalat, Orange Egypt and Vodafone Egypt – rejected the initial terms specified by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA).
Their objections stemmed from concerns that not enough spectrum was being offered at auction, as well as the stipulation that half the licence fee should be paid in US dollars. The operators eventually accepted revised terms from the NTRA a month after the release of the initial terms.
In May this year, ElKady confirmed that the government was ready to allocate 4G frequencies to the mobile operators as well as fixed-line provider Telecom Egypt, although there was ambiguity over when services would be made ready for launch.