Egypt’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) is said to have dated the long-awaited unified licensing regime, with it now expected to become valid from the start of September 2014. According to Daily News Egypt, which cites ministry spokesperson Mohamed Hanafy, the nation’s three mobile network operators – Vodafone Egypt, MobiNil and Etisalat Misr – have all now signed off on the licence terms after examining them.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in April 2014 it was revealed that Telecom Egypt (TE) would be required to pay EGP2.5 billion (USD360 million) for a unified telecoms licence which would allow it to enter the wireless market under its own steam. Meanwhile, it was also confirmed that the aforementioned trio of cellcos would each be required to pay EGP100 million for a unified concession under which they would be allowed to offer services over TE’s fixed infrastructure.
According to the latest report, the second phase of the unified licence scheme will begin in June 2016, allowing communications firms to provide international gateway services for all subscribers, thus permitting cross-border calls. In order to offer such services, however, it has been confirmed that Vodafone Egypt will be required to pay EGP1.8 billion, while MobiNil would have to find EGP1.8 billion; both operators currently depend on TE for international connectivity. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Etisalat Misr is already in possession of an International Gateway and Services licence, which is valid until 2022.