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Telecom Egypt country's first operator with 4G licence

Staff Writer |
Egypt's state-owned telephone company Telecom Egypt has signed a deal to buy a fourth-generation (4G) mobile licence, becoming the first mobile operator to do so in the country.

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Egypt's telecom regulator is offering licences for the high-speed 4G mobile technology to the three companies currently offering mobile services - Orange Egypt, Vodafone Egypt, and Etisalat - as well as to Telecom Egypt (TE), which holds the landline monopoly.

The contract signing by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) and Telecom Egypt was announced at a press conference aired live on TV on Wednesday and attended by Communications and Information Technology Minister Yasser Al-Qadi.

Telecom Egypt said in a statement on the stock exchange website that the 15-year licence will cost the company EGP 7.08 billion, of which EGP 5.2 billion was paid in advance, half of which in dollars.

The Egyptian government says the introduction of the new technology aims to maximise revenues for the state coffers and improve the speed of services to mobile customers.

The landline monopoly owns a 45 percent stake in Vodafone Egypt but will now be able to provide mobile phone services itself within 6 months, following the introduction of mobile technology in Egypt.

The company says it is in advanced talks with a leading bank to provide an evergreen loan to fund almost half of the first payment for the licence.

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