Telecom Egypt considers buying more spectrum

CAIRO, Capital Markets in Africa: Telecom Egypt, the state fixed-line monopoly, said on Monday it was considering buying more spectrum, weeks after acquiring a fourth-generation (4G) licence that will allow it to directly offer mobile phone services for the first time.

“Telecom Egypt has presented a request to the National Telecom Regulatory Authority to understand the terms and conditions related to any other spectrum on offer so it can be studied and evaluated,” it said in a statement on the stock exchange website.

Egypt is selling four 4G licences as part of a long-awaited plan to reform the telecoms sector and raise much-needed dollars for depleted government coffers.

It gave its existing four operators priority to acquire 4G licences, but the only company that took up the offer was Telecom Egypt, which has long sought a way to offer mobile services directly.

Telecom Egypt bought its licence for 7.08 billion Egyptian pounds ($797 million) last month.

The country’s three existing mobile phone operators – Orange, Vodafone and Etisalat – all turned down the licences saying the amount of spectrum on offer was not sufficient to allow them to offer 4G services efficiently.

Egypt’s telecom regulator said last week it would consider an international auction of the licences in light of the rejections. Kuwait’s Zain, China Telecom, Saudi Telecom and Lebara KSA have all expressed interest in Egypt’s market.

It was not clear if Telecom Egypt was looking to buy spectrum left available should any of the remaining three licences find no taker or if it was hoping to secure entirely new frequencies.

Source: Reuters Africa News

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