Cairo - Fixed line monopoly operator Telecom Egypt has been asked to pay 2.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($360 million) for the mobile licence it wants, the country's telecommunications minister Atef Helmy said at news conference on Wednesday.
The country's three existing mobile phone service providers are Vodafone Egypt, Mobinil and Etisalat Egypt but with Egyptians increasingly using mobile phones and the Internet instead of making fixed line phone calls Telecom Egypt has been relying on its data traffic for revenue growth.
It already has a joint venture with Vodafone but has been waiting to launch a separate mobile operation.
“All measures related to the unified licence will be finished by June 30,” Helmy said, referring to the new form of licence which will cover both mobile and fixed line services.
A licence for companies currently running mobile services which gives them access to Telecom Egypt's fixed line network is priced at 100 million pounds, Helmy said.
Details of the new licence have been sent to the telecoms companies, he added.
4G AUCTION IN 2016
The unified licence will not include any new frequencies for Telecom Egypt, such as 4G mobile broadband services, Helmy said.
The head of telecoms regulator Hesham El Alaily said an auction of radio spectrum for 4G services would be held in June 2016.
Until then Telecom Egypt would offer mobile services through the other companies' networks.
He added the new unified licence means that no company would have a monopoly on a service.
The grant of the new unified licence requires a single payment plus an annual fee, Alaily told Reuters.
He did not give any details on the annual fees.
TELECOM EGYPT TO SELL VODAFONE STAKE
Meanwhile Telecom Egypt has been given a one-year deadline to sell its near 45 percent stake in Vodafone Egypt, Helmy said.
Egypt's government owns around 80 percent of Telecom Egypt, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Shares in Telecom Egypt last traded up 1.8 percent at 17.27 pounds at 14:31 SA time, while Mobinil shares were down 0.33 percent at 119.50 pounds. - Reuters