Eti­salat Misr, Voda­fone Egypt sign 4G deals

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Voda­fone Egypt and Eti­salat Misr have signed li­cense deals al­low­ing them to op­er­ate fourth-gen­er­a­tion (4G) mo­bile ser­vices in Egypt, the coun­try’s tele­coms reg­u­la­tor said yes­ter­day. Egypt is sell­ing four 4G li­censes as part of a long-awaited plan to re­form the tele­coms sec­tor and to raise money for stretched gov­ern­ment fi­nances. The coun­try’s three ex­ist­ing mo­bile phone op­er­a­tors - Or­ange, Voda­fone and Eti­salat - ini­tially all turned down the 4G li­censes say­ing the amount of spec­trum on of­fer was not suf­fi­cient to al­low them to of­fer the ser­vice ef­fi­ciently.

The reg­u­la­tor then an­nounced that op­er­a­tors that paid for a li­cense en­tirely in dol­lars would be given pri­or­ity in buy­ing ad­di­tional spec­trum. US dol­lars are scarce in Egypt due to a long-run­ning eco­nomic cri­sis. Or­ange was first to sign the deal last week, pay­ing $484 mil­lion for the li­cense. Voda­fone Egypt agreed to pay $335 mil­lion in a deal signed late on Satur­day, the reg­u­la­tor said. Eti­salat Misr, the Egyp­tian unit of Eti­salat, also signed a deal late on Satur­day, and will pay $535.5 mil­lion. An of­fi­cial from Eti­salat Misr said his firm would also re­ceive 10 Me­ga­hertz of ad­di­tional spec­trum after the deal. Both Eti­salat Misr and Voda­fone also agreed on fixed line phone ser­vice li­censes for $11.26 mil­lion each, the reg­u­la­tor said. Tele­com Egypt, the state’s fixed-line mo­nop­oly, was the only com­pany to take up the orig­i­nal of­fer, buy­ing a 4G li­cense in Au­gust for 7.08 bil­lion Egyp­tian pounds ($797 mil­lion) to enter the mo­bile mar­ket di­rectly for the first time.

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