Orange expects NTRA to introduce new frequencies ahead of 4G customer growth

Mohamed Alaa El-Din
3 Min Read

Deputy CEO of Orange Egypt Ashraf Halim said that the current frequency bandwidths are enough to provide 4G services to the company’s clients, but more would be needed in the coming period as the number of users grows.

He pointed out that 4G in Morocco is offered via 40 MHz per each of the operators, which would mean that the government will offer new bands to cope with the growth of 4G clients.

So far in Egypt, the four telecommunications companies have all filed a formal request for new frequencies to cover the expected growth of mobile users on 4G services. Each operator is offered 10 MHz, with the exception of Vodafone who signed up for 5 MHz, and Telecom Egypt at 15 MHz.

According to the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA), the number of users of the 4G services launched in Egypt two months ago has already reached 10 million users.

Vodafone Egypt has the highest number of clients on 4G services, driven by a 42 million user client base. Telecom Egypt has the lowest number of 4G users, being the newest to the mobile market with only 1.6 million subscribers.

Mobile internet activity in Egypt was valued at EGP 4.7bn in the first half of 2017.

Meanwhile, Halim said that the mobile market will see two million new clients per year, despite having reached saturation already. Currently, mobile penetration rate has reached 110% of population.

Halim said that birth rates in Egypt were on the rise, recording two million births per year, which introduces two million new users annually. These users are the target clients the four companies will be competing to attract.

He noted that the competition amongst the four companies—Vodafone, Etisalat, Orange, and Telecom Egypt—will become fiercer as each of the companies seeks to attract more users.

Orange invested EGP 8.6bn to obtain the 4G license and has also doubled its investments to improve its network and develop the infrastructure across Egypt, fuelled by a loan from the mother company worth €750m.

The company’s total investments in Egypt reached over EGP 32bn since entering the market. Orange has also recently decided to open a technical support and customer service centre in Assiut, next to opening new stores in different governorates to spread 4G services and better serve its clients.

The four telecommunication operators were licensed for 4G services for a total of EGP 10bn and $1.1bn paid to the government. The 4G services provide internet connection that is ten times faster compared to 3G services.

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