Mobinil delays decision on international licence

26 October 2007
Egypt's largest mobile phone operator, Mobinil, will wait until the 2008 auction of the country's second fixed-line licence before deciding whether to pay£E 1,500 million ($270 million) for an international telecoms licence.

On 19 October, the Egyptian telecoms regulator gave Mobinil its terms for a new international gateway licence - which allows an operator to directly connect calls to operators in other countries. Mobinil was asked to pay£E 100 ($18.00) per customer for the licence. Alex Shalaby, its chief executive officer, says it will soon have 15 million customers, meaning it will have to pay up to $270 million for the gateway licence. Mobinil spokesman Khaled Badr refused to say what decision it might make. The National Telecom Regulatory Authority has included an international gateway licence in the much larger licence to run a second fixed-line network in Egypt. Naguib Sawiris, chairman of Mobinil and Orascom Telecom, says he wants to bid for the licence when it comes up for auction in February 2008. Vodafone Egypt, which is jointly owned by the UK's Vodafone and Telecom Egypt, has yet to announce what it will do. Etisalat Egypt, which is owned by UAE-giant Etisalat, will buy a separate international gateway licence, although it too has expressed interest in the second fixed-line lic

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