Vodafone poised for Telecom Egypt buyout in local JV - report - Mobile World Live

Vodafone poised for Telecom Egypt buyout in local JV – report

23 OCT 2013

Vodafone Group is ready to buy Telecom Egypt’s 45 per cent stake in Vodafone Egypt, according to a Bloomberg report.

Analysts at Naeem Brokerage, quoted by Bloomberg, reckon the sale could raise $2 billion for Telecom Egypt, which is 80 per cent owned by the state.

As well as boosting government coffers, a Telecom Egypt exit may well avert a conflict of interest for the country’s fixed-line monopoly holder.

Telecom Egypt has already applied for an integrated licence, a concession that allows operators – for the first time in Egypt – to offer fixed and mobile services under one licence.

Integrated licences would also open the door for Egypt’s three main mobile operators – Etisalat, Orange and Vodafone – to offer fixed-line services.

Although such a scenario would mean Telecom Egypt holding stakes in rival firms, the state-owned operator said in August it was not obliged to sell its Vodafone stake to acquire an integrated licence.

It’s not yet clear when the integrated licences will be awarded and who will get them.

Naeem Brokerage said cash from Vodafone would give Telecom Egypt the financial firepower to buy a 4G licence and roll out a network.

The country’s telecoms regulator previously said it would grant Telecom Egypt an MVNO licence to start selling its own mobile services, fuelling speculation that the state-owned firm might start seeking an exit from Vodafone Egypt.

According to Q3 2013 figures from GSMA Wireless Intelligence, Vodafone is the largest operator in Egypt with 41.9 million subscribers, followed by Orange (34.2 million) and Etisalat (25.3 million).

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Ken Wieland

Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is now contributing regularly to Mobile World Live. He has been a telecoms journalist for over 15 years, which includes eight...More

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