Egypt Independent

Phone operators mobilize for World Cup qualifier



Even mobile phone operators in Egypt are gearing up for the upcoming World Cup qualifying soccer match between Egypt and Algeria. In anticipation of an unprecedented spectator turnout, mobile phone operators are planning to double the strength of their networks in the area surrounding the Cairo International Stadium as well as nearby areas in Nasr City and along Salah Salem Road.

The National Telecommunication Regulation Authority (NTRA) has over the last few days urged Egypt’s three mobile phone operators – Mobinil, Vodafone and Etisalat – to boost network coverage in the area surrounding the stadium.

Mobile operators were told to give priority to voice services over the Internet and G3 services, said Amr Badawy, CEO at NTRA. The match represents a challenge for the companies, he added, explaining that pressure on their networks is expected to increase after the match if Egypt qualifies. Increased pressure on phone networks during feasts and key soccer matches usually leads to weaker coverage and leaves many subscribers unable to make calls or exchange messages. 

Khaled Hegazy, general manager of government and external relations at Vodafone, said that his company would take the necessary measures to bolster their call-making services. 

Sources at Etisalat say that the network boosters they have set up in the area surrounding the stadium can cover more than 90,000 subscribers, which is greater than the capacity of the stadium itself.

Mobinil is working on multiplying the capacity of its networks, and is looking at the idea of having vehicles equipped to provide supplementary coverage networks stationed in certain areas surrounding the stadium, according to Yasser Shaker, director of network engineering and development at Mobinil.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.