Vodafone Egypt talks remain on hold

Egypt’s communications minister says Vodafone chief Vittorio Colao won’t discuss a deal to sell a stake in its local business to Telecom Egypt during a visit next month.
Tarek Kamel told reporters a deal to increase Telecom Egypt’s 45% stake in Vodafone Egypt has been put on hold, and that Colao’s visit did not automatically mean fresh talks are imminent.
However Kamel confirmed the largely state-owned landline operator will explore other means of entering the lucrative mobile market, touting an MVNO license as a possibility, Reuters reports.
Approval for a deal to raise Telecom Egypt’s stake in the mobile carrier is unlikely to be given anytime soon, Kamel said, after talks broke down in June.
An MVNO deal is dependent on Egypt’s regulatory authority and on the willingness of the country’s three mobile operators to team up with the incumbent, Kamel revealed.

The virtual approach would allow Telecom Egypt to enter the mobile market faster than waiting for a fourth license to be issued, which is unlikely to happen before 2013, Mobile Business Briefing notes.