Atef Helmy, Egypt’s Minister of Communications & Information Technology, has revealed that the government is still finalising the details of the long-awaited unified licence award and ‘the establishment of a national entity for the development of the infrastructure considered the main backbone for the ICT sector’, Reuters reports. Although the process was initially earmarked to start on 30 June 2014, that date passed without any further developments. Mr Helmy disclosed: ‘We are in the last stage to complete the details relating to the unified licence and the steps to create the unified entity’, although he stopped short of providing any further details.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in January 2014 Egyptian telecoms regulator the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) agreed to introduce unified licences, allowing companies to offer both fixed line and mobile services using a single concession; it is expected that the move will allow fixed line incumbent Telecom Egypt (TE) to enter the mobile market. Further, in May 2014 TE agreed to hand over the requested concession fee by stating: ‘The firm’s board of directors agreed in its emergency meeting on 4 May to obtain the mobile phone licence without frequencies in return for EGP2.5 billion [USD360 million].’