Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has refuted claims made by local news source The Egypt Independent that the dossier for the unified telecoms licence which will allow Telecom Egypt (TE) to enter the wireless market had been withdrawn from the regulator. Last week it was claimed that, following threats from Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Misr that they could withdraw investments if the concession was offered with the existing terms, the dossier had been taken from communications minister Atef Helmy and given to the prime minister. However, the MCIT has categorically denied that this is the case, reconfirming that the communications minister had been given a mandate to take charge of the file on 27 March 2014. This mandate, it noted, comprised a decision from the PM to form a committee presided by the communications minister, other ministries’ representatives and expert members ‘to look into best mechanisms to establish a national entity for the development of the infrastructure considered the main backbone for the ICT sector’.
According to the MCIT, the first meeting of this committee took place on 18 May 2014, while further meetings have since been held, with the most recent said to have examined plans to set the best mechanisms for establishing the aforementioned national entity, while also studying alternative options for enabling TE to divest its stake in Vodafone Egypt. Further, the MCIT has clarified that ‘all concerned companies positively participate in working groups to finalise technical details and measures of the preliminary phase of the unified licence’. However, the regulator did note that it has not yet received remarks from those operators currently examining the details of the unified licence system, stating that such comments are expected to be sent once the study is finalised.