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Unified licence to be launched in September: Communications ministry

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The three mobile service operators have agreed to the licence’s terms for offering landline services

The unified licence would allow communication operator Telecom Egypt (TE) to offer mobile services and the three mobile operators, Mobinil, Etisalat and Vodafone, to offer landline services. (Photo by Aaron T Rose)

The unified licence would allow communication operator Telecom Egypt (TE) to offer mobile services and the three mobile operators, Mobinil, Etisalat and Vodafone, to offer landline services.
(Photo by Aaron T Rose)

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has proposed a unified licence, which is slated to be activated by the beginning of September, ministry spokesperson Mohamed Hanafy told the Daily News Egypt Wednesday.

The unified licence would allow communication operator Telecom Egypt (TE) to offer mobile services and the three mobile operators, Mobinil, Etisalat and Vodafone, to offer landline services.

Vodafone, Mobinil and Etisalat, who have been studying the terms of the license after its approval by the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) in early April, have agreed on the license’s rules, according to Hanafy.

Under the new licence, which authorises integration between fixed and mobile services, each of Egypt’s three mobile service operators will be required to pay EGP 100m to provide landline services through renting the infrastructure of TE, which will also use their infrastructure in providing mobile services.

Meanwhile, TE is permitted, through the license, to offer mobile services for EGP 2.5bn in charge.

In the first phase of implementing the unified licence, which was originally scheduled to be activated by the end of July, a “national entity” will be established with the aim of implementing communication infrastructure projects throughout Egypt, Hanafy stated.

Before the licence implementation, TE was the only responsible entity for developing the communications infrastructure; however, after the licence’s approval, the government, in cooperation with the three mobile companies, will be responsible for this task, Hanafy added.

The four involved companies will have the right to own shares in the entity.

Starting from June 2016, the second phase of the licence will commence, allowing communication firms to provide the international portal services for all subscribers, thus permitting cross-border calls, according to the ministry.

To obtain the service, Vodafone is required to pay EGP 1.8bn and Mobinil EGP 1.5bn. Both companies used to depend on TE for international portal services.

Etisalat, which already offers the international service, will pay EGP 8 for each subscriber.

TE, 80% of which is owned by the government, has been given a one year period to weigh its decision to sell its Vodafone shares, which comprise 45%, so as not to cause a conflict of interest.

Discussions over offering telecom firms the unified licence date back to 2012, with the NTRA expecting to launch the first phase by the first half of 2013.


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