France Telecom Eyes Egyptian licence

France Telecom has expressed interest in buying Egypt's second fixed line licence, along with five Arab companies according to a Reuters report said. The report, quoted a spokesman for the National Telecom Regulatory Authority, who said France Telecom had bought a booklet of conditions for the sale of the telecom licence.

The other five companies that have expressed interest are Orascom Telecom, Egypt's Alkan, Egypt's Giza Systems, Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat and Saudi's Atheeb group, the NTRA spokesman added.

The telecom regulator will auction the licence on June 19, bringing Egypt one step closer to ending the monopoly of state-run Telecom Egypt, currently the country's sole fixed line operator.

Etisalat led a group of investors that paid €1.85 billion/US$2.9 billion to become Egypt's third mobile operator in 2006, with the right to offer higher-bandwidth 3G technology in the most populous Arab country.