CEO of Etisalat Egypt Hazem Metwali called for putting forth fair market regulations for the mobile market in Egypt, as Telecom Egypt (TE) gets ready to launch as the country’s fourth mobile service operator. Metwali directed his call to the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA), as fourth generation (4G) frequencies are being introduced to the Egyptian market.
With TE owning the telecommunication infrastructure in Egypt, Metwali stated that negotiations regarding trade agreements of infrastructure rental prices with TE had been ongoing for a few years. However, a final agreement with the company has not been reached until now.
“Etisalat is looking into the trade agreements with TE, but everything is still pending,” Metwali said.
He added that there were no clear details about letters sent by the NTRA about the availability of frequencies for the 4G licenses. It is expected that Etisalat will pay EGP 4.5bn in exchange for a 4G license.
Metwali noted that the company has had several meetings with the NTRA, looking into the technical, financial, and regulatory conditions of offering 4G services.
Clear regulatory frameworks need to be put in place, regarding the advantages, services, licenses, and frequencies that the company will obtain, Metwali stated. He added that equality, justice, fair competition amongst operators, and a general growth in the sector are key pillars for this framework, assuring that the service users are the ones who will mainly benefit from these regulations.
Etisalat Egypt has invested more than EGP 37bn in the local market since entering it in 2006.
An official in one of the mobile operator companies, wishing to remain anonymous, said that pending issues in the Egyptian telecommunications sector must be resolved before approving the 4G licenses and allowing TE to offer 4G as a competitor.
He added that TE is the sole owner of the infrastructure in the Egyptian market, which will allow it to monopolise the sector. Moreover, it will be offering mobile and 4G services once it is provided with the license, which will harm the competition in the market.
The source wondered why TE was allowed to become a competitor in the mobile market, while monopolising the sector’s infrastructure, and also owning 45% of Vodafone Egypt. This results in unfair market competition.