Egypt’s long-running 4G deployment saga looks to be at an end, as the country’s telecoms minister announced operators will launch commercial services this month.
Yasser ElKady, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, made the announcement regarding commercial launches today (11 September), Reuters reported. ElKady also revealed a government plan to release additional frequencies to operators in the future without committing to a timeline, the news agency added.
The launch of commercial services will draw a line under a fraught 4G auction process, which initially saw the country’s mobile operators Orange Egypt, Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat reject terms set out by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) in September 2016.
At the time, operators said they were concerned the auction did not offer enough spectrum, and were worried by a condition requiring half the licence fee to be paid in US dollars.
Deals were eventually agreed in October 2016, around a month after initial terms were released.
The minister in May said the government was ready to hand over frequencies to the three mobile operators and fixed-line incumbent Telecom Egypt. The launch of 4G services is a key element in a long-term government plan to reform Egypt’s telecoms sector and raise additional funds for the state.