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The deputy chairman of Egyptian mobile service provider Mobinil, Ashraf Halim, has criticized the Egyptian government for plans to directly grant the license for the country’s fourth mobile phone network to the state-run Telecom Egypt.
Halim said the government is seeking to enable the company to monopolize the market and curtail competition. Telecom Egypt is the country’s sole provider for the land line phone services.
Halim said adding a fourth operator to the current active networks, Vodafone, Mobinil, and Etisalat has no economic benefit, noting that the three companies fill 106 percent of local demand.
He said that if the government is to grant the fourth license to Telecom Egypt, it should give mobile companies the right to use fiber optic networks currently reserved for Telecom Egypt, so as to ensure competitiveness.
He added that mobile companies had proposed for licenses to create their own international calling networks and demanded to have their own fiber optic networks, but were met with impossible conditions by the government, which included paying LE2 billion in fees in addition to LE20 for each new customer.
On Tuesday, the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority held a meeting chaired by the new Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Hany Mahmoud, where it decided to postpone offering the fourth license until further consideration.
An official at the regulator told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the minister suggested the license to be directly granted to Telecom Egypt.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm