Badawy: reasons behind delay out of company’s hands
CAIRO: The National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NRTA) reaffirmed Wednesday its decision not to levy monetary penalties on the new third mobile operator, Etisalat Egypt, for failing to initiate its services in February.
NTRA Chairman Amr Badawy said the company has faced circumstances beyond its control, causing it to postpone the contractual launching of its services from February to March, and finally to the second half of May.
Chief among these circumstances are the difficulties the company is facing in installing its network towers due to the strong resistance of residents in surrounding areas, NTRA Vice Chairman Sherif Ginena told The Daily Star Egypt.
Public concern has risen steadily in the past two years over the health risks associated with the construction of telecommunication towers in close proximity to residential areas. But the Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology (MCIT) maintains the electronic signals sent from the towers are too weak to pose health risks. NTRA allows mobile operators to freely build network towers throughout the country as long as they adhere to government guidelines regarding signal strength, tower height and distance from local residents.
“People need to be aware the limits placed by the authority on [network] tower construction are stringent and do not pose any health risks, Ginena said. The past six months have seen repeated confrontation between residents of small towns throughout the country and police forces providing protection to mobile operators during installation of towers.
Since acquiring the third mobile license in July for LE 16.7 billion, Etisalat Egypt has spent more than $260 million (LE 1.5 billion) on establishing its operating infrastructure, according to Chairman Salah El Abduli. The expenditures are part of the company s LE 6 billion budget for its first year in operation.
Entering a 51-49 percent market split between the two existing operators, El Abduli says his company has set a target of reaching 3 million customers by the end of the first year and 10 million by 2010 when mobile penetration is expected to reach 40 percent, according to MCIT.