Egypt agrees 4G licence deal with operators

By:
Bill Boyle
Published on:

Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat have finally signed deals with the country’s telecom regulator to acquire 4G licenses

The Egyptian regulator has announced that Vodafone, Orange, and Etisalat have agreed terms for 4G licenses. All three companies had initially refused NTRA’s earlier license terms, citing insufficient spectrum. They have been given one month to transfer the required cash amounts from the parent companies outside Egypt, and have been given a deadline of four months to begin the 4G service.

Vodafone Egypt Telecommunications Co. and Etisalat Misr, the local arm of Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Telecommunications Group, paid $335m and $535.5m respectively, the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) said. Both also paid $11.3 m each to operate a virtual fixed-line service, the NTRA said. 

Vodafone secured 5 megahertz of 4G spectrum while Etisalat got 10MHz  NTRA executive president Mostafa Abdul Wahid told reporters. Additional frequencies would be offered in less than a year, he said.

The regulator said it would launch an international auction for the licenses and set new terms, including calculating the value of 4G and fixed-line licenses in dollars. It offered companies that paid the full amount in dollars priority in securing additional frequencies in the future.

Etisalat Misr and Vodafone Egypt have since approved the licences for virtual fixed-lines for $11.2m each. The frequencies for Etisalat are 40 MHz, and 42.5 MHz for Vodafone.

Vodafone will be using its existing bandwidth of 42.5 MHz. Etisalat received 10 MHz, while Vodafone purchased 5 MHz and was reserved the ability to obtain new frequencies in future.

The value of the 4G licences sold to the three mobile companies was $1.3bn.