Once Telecom Egypt gets a license to offer its own mobile services in the coming months, it may decide not to sell its 45 per cent stake in Vodafone Egypt, despite the government saying it would need to do so for competition reasons by the end of 2015.
The fixed-line monopoly, of which the government owns 80 per cent, has agreed to pay $350 million for the unified fixed-line and mobile license.
The licence would enable Telecom Egypt to enter the mobile market, while allowing existing mobile operators Vodafone, Orange and Etisalat to make use of Telecom Egypt’s fixed network.
The government said it had even set up a committee to consider how Telecom Egypt should offload its stake in Vodafone’s local unit, valued at around £1 billion last year.
However, CEO Mohamed Elnawawy told Reuters that he had not been informed of an exit date and the operator may even take a controlling stake in Vodafone, if the government agreed.
“Before we put large capex in spectrum … we would need to look at this asset and decide how to evolve with this asset to be buyers or sellers,” said Elnawawy.
“This depends on their appetite to sell or a promising value for which to exit at … We have not reached that point yet,” he added.
It was reported earlier this month that Telecom Egypt wanted to hire financial advisers to help sell its Vodafone stake and had asked local and international banks to send in proposals if they wanted to be involved.