By Mohamed Fawzi
The National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) has agreed to grant the integrated telecom license (which allows all telecom companies to provide all types of telecom services) to the four telecommunications companies in the first half of 2013. The process of granting licenses will be done over two stages, the first taking two years, which will see companies provide service to customers, however without frequencies. The second stage will see service provided to customers after the necessary frequencies and infrastructure have been obtained.
“The price of licenses will be determined within the next six months after consulting with experts from outside the sector. He added that Telecom Egypt would be granted the right to offer mobile service without frequencies to companies during the first stage, in addition granting mobile companies fixed borrowing services by way of purchasing minutes from Telecom Egypt,” stated the executive director of the NTRA, Amr Badawi.
He added that a recent law drafted to regulate competition in Egypt would resolve the legal issues pertaining to Telecom Egypt’s s control over nearly 45 per cent of Vodafone Egypt, after the granting the former the integrated license.
“Granting the integrated license to a company outside the telecommunications market will be determined based on the conditions of the market at that time,” Badawi said.
He added that the EGP 25 tax on mobile SIM cards will secure benefits for both the government and businesses and help contribute to data recording, noting that at the current stage, 25 per cent of all of the NTRA’s recorded on subscriber information are incorrect, and that it was the NTRA that suggested the new tax on mobile SIM cards.
According to Badawi, 5 million SIM cards are sold monthly in Egypt, and 60 million annually. With these numbers, the government can be expected to reap EGP 750m in revenues as a result of the new tax.