RFP issued for third GSM

24 February 2006

The National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) has issued the request for proposals (RFP) for the country's third mobile licence. Consortiums of national and international companies have been invited to respond by 17 April (see Tenders). A question-and-answer session for prospective bidders is due to be held in Cairo on 8 March. Foreign operators expected to show interest in the licence include Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco), MTC and Wataniya Telecom, both of Kuwait, Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), Saudi Telecom, Norway's Telenor and South Africa's MTN, which has already teamed up with the local Raya Holding. It is understood that incumbent fixed-line operator Telecom Egypt (TE) also plans to bid, which - if successful - would require it to cede its 25.5 per cent stake in existing mobile operator Vodafone Egypt (VE), under NTRA rules forbidding cross-shareholding between mobile services companies (Telecoms, MEED Special Report, 10:2:06, pages 34-36).

The long-awaited new licence will break the duopoly currently held by VE and Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (MobiNil). Its release has been delayed twice since the summer to avoid interfering with TE's initial public offering (IPO), staged in December (MEED 16:12:05).

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