Egypt's telecoms regulator said it will grant Telecom Egypt a licence by mid-2013 to provide mobile services, and will allow mobile companies to offer fixed-lined services using Telecom Egypt's infrastructure, at a later date, Reuters reported.
However, it is not yet clear whether or not the monopoly fixed-line operator will also be forced to give up its 45 per cent stake in Vodafone Egypt to facilitate the mobile licence award. Bloomberg reported that Telecom Egypt expects the regulator to decide on the fate of its Vodafone stake sometime this year.
Egypt currently has three mobile operators: Vodafone Egypt, Mobinil, which is controlled by France Telecom, and Dubai-based Etisalat. The country has around 83.6 million people.
Telecom Egypt CEO Mohamed El-Nawawy told Reuters last month that the company could look to set up its own independent network. As things stand, the operator would be forced to negotiate wholesale rates with one of the existing operators and become an MVNO.
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