The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) on Wednesday granted Telecom Egypt a license to install and operate fourth generation networks for mobile phones (4G).
Telecom Egypt was previously only a landline service provider, but the LE7.08 billion license introduces the company into the market of mobile operations, where it will provide 4G services using new frequency bands.
It is expected that 4G services will increase Internet speed and improve the quality of mobile telephone service, said acting CEO of NTRA Mostafa Abdel Wahed.
The introduction of Telecom Egypt as a new mobile operator in the Egyptian market will increase competition among operators, which will benefit users by raising the bar on quality of services as well as improving prices, he said.
He added that the license will also create job opportunities and generate revenue for the state treasury.
Telecom Egypt is required to pay the NTRA LE5.2 billion immediately, 50 percent of which has been asked for in Egyptian pounds and 50 percent in US dollars. The company will pay back the rest in four, yearly installments, beginning next year, and the license will be valid for 15 years.
The sale of 4G licenses has been long awaited in the Egyptian telecoms sector, and the three mobile operators currently on the market – Etisalat, Vodafone and Orange – were approached about purchasing licenses. Operators from outside the country, such as Kuwait-based operator Zain, have shown an interest in the Egyptian market.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm