Egypt’s telecoms minister said state-controlled Telecom Egypt (TE) will get a 4G mobile licence next year, according to Reuters.
Last year, the government approved the unified licence (for which TE agreed to pay $350 million) allowing the fixed-line monopoly to run mobile services using the existing infrastructure of operators, but implementation has been delayed.
Local media said disputes about licence details between TE and the country’s operators prevented the launch of the incumbent’s branded mobile service.
The licence will enable TE to offer mobile service and compete with operators including Vodafone, the number one player with 40 per cent market share, according to GSMA Intelligence, followed by Mobinil (Orange) which has 33 per cent market share and Etisalat, with 25 per cent.
Another issue is whether or not TE will need to sell its 45 per cent stake in Vodafone Egypt should it enter the mobile market directly.
The licence will also allow these operators to enter the landline market, should they want to.
Last month, following the appointment of new government representatives onto the board of TE , the incumbent voted for a new CEO – existing board member Osama Yassin – sparking speculation that a change in mobile direction might be on the cards.