Raneen was selected for the project by Telecom Egyptin September, and negotiations about a final contract are understood to be at an advanced stage (MEED 28:9:01).

Raneen is made up of Global Telecom– part of Kuwait’s Mohamed Abdulmohsin Kharafi & SonsQualcommof the US, and National Telecommunications Corporation and Raya Holdings, both local. The project will be carried out on a revenue-sharing basis with Telecom Egypt. The first phase will entail the installation of 1.5 million lines.

The system will use Qualcomm’s code division multiple access narrow band technology. The main advantage will be that the extra telephone capacity will be able to be installed quickly without the disruption of digging up streets to lay cables. Raneen has been looking at options from Lucent Technologiesand Motorola, both of the US, and Canada’s Nortel for the supply of equipment for the scheme. It is understood that subscribers will be provided with hand-held telephones with some mobility within the WLL cells.

Egypt has some 6 million fixed subscriber lines, with about 3 million people on the waiting list. Actual demand is thought to be higher because many people do not bother to apply for a telephone line because they know the waiting list is so long.