Vodafone Egypt picks Ericsson to manage greater Cairo network

Vodafone Egypt signed a "first of its kind" managed services contract with Ericsson covering field maintenance and network quality improvements in the greater Cairo area, the equipment manufacturer revealed.

The operator, which is jointly owned by Vodafone Group (55.05 per cent) and Telecom Egypt (44.95 per cent), signed a three-year deal with Ericsson as it seeks to improve operational efficiency and increase network availability for its 36.3 million subscribers.

Osama Said, Telecom Egypt's CTO, said the operator signed the deal as it seeks to "achieve world class network quality" and offer "the most innovative solutions that best serve our customers' needs."

Ericsson's local business has been the incumbent equipment supplier to Vodafone Egypt since 1998. Rafiah Ibrahim, head of Ericsson's Middle East business, said the managed services contract will benefit Vodafone Egypt's customers by enabling them to "advance into the networked society future where everything that can benefit from connectivity will be connected."

Vodafone Egypt revealed in March that it would invest at least EGP9 billion (€943 million/$1.2 billion) over the next three years to improve services in the country, in a move that also includes the creation of 3,000 new jobs.

The operator is currently preparing for the launch of unified fixed and mobile licences in Egypt along with rival mobile operators Mobinil and Etisalat Egypt. The timing of licence availability is currently uncertain after an original target activation date of June 30 passed.

Egyptian telecoms minister Atef Helmy said in early July that the final preparations for activation were underway, Reuters reported.

It is uncertain whether the mobile players will pursue the combined licences, however, as the move is more likely to benefit incumbent fixed telephony operator Telecom Egypt. The operator's business is being eroded as consumers opt to make calls on mobile networks, making its entry into the wireless space more important than for mobile players to provide fixed-line services.

Telecom Egypt in May agreed to pay EGP2.5 billion for a mobile licence, but will be prevented from accessing new frequencies covering 4G (LTE), Reuters said in a separate report.

For more:
- see Ericsson's announcement
- see this Reuters article on licence preparations
- read this separate Reuters report on Telecom Egypt

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