Mobinil, which counts Egypt’s Orascom Telecom and France Telecom as its largest shareholders, had suffered from a lack of capacity on its existing 2G network due to the rapid growth in its number of customers.

The company’s customer numbers at the end of June were 17.5 million, up 47 per cent on the year before (MEED 11:8:08).

Last year, Mobinil’s then chief executive officer Alex Shalaby warned that “the day is not far off when we will not be able to take on new customers” (MEED 13:7:07).

Shalaby has since become chairman.

Mobinil spent £E3.3bn ($610m) on the 3G licence in January and more than £E700m since then on the infrastructure for the new network.