By Mohamed Alaa El Din
The decision to dismiss Telecom Egypt’s (TE) CEO Mohamed El-Nawawy was taken after days of studies, reflecting the board of directors’ intention to inject the company with new experiences, according to Minister of Telecommunications Khaled Negm.
Negm added that the decision to dismiss El-Nawawy was not personal. The decision was not taken against El-Nawawy alone, but against several government representatives in the company. Negm affirmed that the government aims to take advantage of expertise in line with the current phase, and at the pace required by the government.
“The government could not wait until next August, when the cycle for the board of directors in TE is over. The dismissal decision was a step in line with the state’s tendencies due to some delays in solving some issues. These issues included the Internet service, which is dissatisfactory to any official,” he added.
Negm added that Internet capacity via the sea cables in Egypt is roughly at 8TB, while Egypt only makes use of no more than 0.2% of the total capacity. This rest is considered wasted capacity.
In April, Negm met with the “Internet Revolution” youth movement to discuss increasing Internet speeds and lowering prices. Accordingly, he demanded that Internet providers in Egypt make offers in this framework. However, no company has made such offers, except for TE, which only made one offer through its investment arm TE Data. The rest of the companies attributed this to TE’s refusal to lower infrastructure rental prices, which is a main factor in setting the Internet prices.
According to Negm, lowering Internet prices should take place after TE lowers infrastructure rental prices for companies, according to a study by the Ministry of Communications. This, however, did not take place, and the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) sent its response regarding the new Internet price offers for the companies, which will be issued by the end of this week or the start of next week.
Negm said that, by the beginning of next year, the ministry plans to increase Internet speeds to 10 MB. He called on the new board of directors of TE to make the best use of the company’s assets to double its revenues next year.
Advisor to the Ministry of Communications and new member of the board of directors of the company Khaled Sherif said that the company is currently looking into the readiness of the three mobile operators to introduce a fourth operator, should a virtual licence be issued.
Studies on the unified licence may require re-evaluation of some points, because it has been three years since preparing them. Sherif also added that TE could provide mobile services as a main operator, and this will be studied within the points that will be re-evaluated.
As per the unified licence items issued more than a year and half ago, TE is virtually providing mobile services depending on the infrastructure of mobile operators (Vodafone, Mobinil, and Etisalat). This is done as per an agreement with the companies.
“I demanded that TE builds a developed operating centre as part of finalising its preparations in case the mobile licence was issued,” according to Negm.