In the backdrop of rejection by the three Egyptian operators — Vodafone Egypt, Orange Egypt, and Etisalat – the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) of Egypt considers inviting foreign players to participate in 4G spectrum auction. China Telecom, Lebara Saudi Arabia, Saudi Telecom, and Kuwait-based Zain had previously shown interest in entering Egypt.
Vodafone Egypt and Orange Egypt revealed that the spectrum offered by the government was insufficient in terms of quantity and has cited this as the reason for turning down the offer to acquire them.
“The license does not offer sufficient spectrum to operate 4G services efficiently and in a way that would allow the Egyptian user to experience significantly higher speeds,” said Vodafone Egypt.
“Orange Egypt considers that the quantity of spectrum offered is not enough to offer the Egyptian customers the quality of 4G services that they deserve,” commented Orange.
Etisalat has not revealed its reason for the rejection.
According to a report by Reuters, the operators also refused few terms in the 4G auction such as the one requiring them to pay 50% of the license in U.S. dollars. Telecom Egypt is the only player which accepted the offer from the Government. It needs the 4G license to enter the mobile market directly for the first time. It is acquiring the license for 7.08 billion Egyptian pounds ($797 million).
NTRA will present the suggestion to make the auction open to international players in its next Board of Directors’ meeting, which is scheduled to be held in October.
Egypt is selling four 4G licenses as part of a long-awaited plan to reform the telecoms sector.