The launch of regional internet licences has been postponed until its basic regulatory framework is restructured, especially until after the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is sure there would be no demand from distributors if it is put forward with the old framework, Communications Minister Yasser Al-Qadi said.
The ministry and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) designed a plan late last year to offer regional internet licences to be competed for by major internet services providers, including TE Data, Link, Vodafone, Etisalat, and Noor data network. The plan sought to issue licences for each of the 10 governorates in the first phase.
On the occasion of the IDC Foundation’s inauguration of its regional headquarters in the Egyptian market, Al-Qadi said the ministry preferred to postpone the launch of licences in order to set a regulatory framework for the licences to oblige distributors to provide the service at the highest quality.
The Communications Ministry had planned to launch regional internet licences during the first quarter of 2016, but decided to postpone it.
According to the minister, the regional licences will depend on distributors purchasing internet services at a wholesale price from major internet service providers, and re-selling them to users, which ensures the spread of internet services and elimination of illegal connections, which the minister sees as the main reason for poor internet service.
Al-Qadi denied that TE Data monopolises the internet market. He said the company only acquires 30% of the internet market, while the larger share is acquired by mobile companies, as most internet users in the country rely on mobile and USB internet services.