The company, a subsidiary of the UAE’s Etisalat, will use the money to expand its network, which was only launched in May 2007.

Etisalat Misr may raise a further $1bn in debt during 2008 to repay the $2.9bn cost of the licence fee to operate in Egypt.

The majority of the loans, about £E3bn ($545m), will be provided in Egyptian pounds and the remaining $300m in US dollars.

The operator had more than 3 million customers in Egypt at the end of September 2007, according to the parent company’s chairman Mohammad Hassan Omran.