Egypt receives two bids for telco licences

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CAIRO: Two consortiums filed bids for two licenses to supply cable, voice and Internet services to residential compounds by a Thursday deadline, Egypt’s telecom regulator said.

“We have received two bids from consortiums and will study them technically and the NTRA board will make a decision sometime in May, Amr Badawi, the executive president of the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA), told Reuters.

He did not name the firms involved in the consortiums.

When it first announced the licenses offer in September, the government said it would not ask for a significant upfront payment but would take 8 percent of operator revenue.

The regulator had pushed the bid deadline back twice after interested firms requested more time to prepare potential bids.

The licenses have received a lukewarm reception from many telecom firms and some analysts were disappointed by their limited scope and reliance on the infrastructure of landline monopoly Telecom Egypt.

Badawi had said previously at least 18 firms had bought bid documents but not all were expected to bid.

Among those that have bought the documents include existing operators Mobinil and Vodafone Egypt, and regional operator Orascom Telecom. Technology firm Raya Technology and Communication said last month it was no longer interested.

Egypt invited bids in September for the licenses, which it expects will generate $1 billion in investments over five years.

The bids were initially due in January, with successful bidders expected to start work in the second half of 2010. That deadline was extended by two months in December.

In 2008, Egypt suspended plans to launch a second fixed-line operation that would have broken Telecom Egypt s monopoly. -Reuters

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By Reuters
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