Egypt offers 'triple play' licenses

Egypt is offering two new telecommunications licenses servicing areas outside of the capital and introducing competition in the fixed line market.
Communication and IT Minister Tarek Kamel expects that the licenses will bring over €682 million in new investment over the next five years.
The licenses will be granted to a pair of consortia to operate "triple-play" services for communities outside of Cairo and regional areas. The communities up for grabs are those which house between 50 to 5,000 units, while larger communities would be served by Telecom Egypt.
"These two additional licenses are for inviting consortia to come in from the private sector whether locally or internationally," said Kamel. Additional licenses may also be offered in the future.
It is understood that the  companies will not have to pay upfront payment for the licenses but the transaction will be based on a revenue sharing program in which the government would get and 8% cut of sales.
Bids are due on January 12 with a decision on the new licensees to be made in the second half of 2010.
The move by the government comes as the country has been grappling with the fallout from the economic meltdown.
The move to extend competition in the telecommunications sector comes as Egypt grapples with sluggish economic growth and decreased foreign investment. "There is no exclusivity," he said.