Ahram Online

Egyptians move away from fixed line to mobile Internet services

Egypt's fixed line subscribers declined 21.3 percent in March compared to the same period the prior year, falling to to 6.7 million when they registered 8.6 million in 2013, revealed the Egyptian cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC).

Meanwhile, mobile subscribers increased 8.2 percent to 102 million, while Internet users surged 26.4 percent to 42 million.

Source: Ahram Online

Vimpelcom resolves Algeria row with $2.6 billion stake sale

Russia's Vimpelcom has resolved a long-running dispute with the Algerian government by selling it a majority stake in the country's biggest telecoms operator for $2.6 billion, while it will keep control and slash debt.

Orascom Telecom Algeria, also known as Djezzy, is a prized asset, which Vimpelcom bought in 2010 from Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris as part of a more than $6 billion deal as it aimed to diversify outside of Russia.

Source: Ahram Online

Egypt's Mobinil negotiating LE2.5 bn loan

Egyptian mobile carrier Mobinil is negotiating a LE2.5 billion ($357m) syndicated loan with four banks, the company said in a statement to the stock exchange on Wednesday.

The loan would be used for expansion purposes.

Mobinil was badly hit by the political turmoil unleashed after a popular uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The company reported a net loss of LE296 million in the first six months of 2013, down from a loss of LE47 million a year earlier.

Source: Ahram Online

Sudan shelves telecom profit tax for three years

Sudan has scrapped a 30 percent profit tax on telecom operators until the end of 2015, replacing it with a 2.5 percent levy on total income, the state news agency said, in a move that should help a sector hurt by the plunging value of the Sudanese pound.

Sudan had the highest sales tax on mobile in services in the Arab world, according to a September report by the Arab Advisors Group, deterring investment in what is a vital industry for a country still reeling from South Sudan's succession that led to the loss of three-quarters of Khartoum's oil output.

Source: Ahram Online

Altimo subsidiary offers to buy Egypt's Orascom Telecom

The $3.7 billion offer from a Cyprus-based firm owned by Altimo is at a price of $0.70 per share for all of Orascom Telecom's 5.245 billion shares, the statement said.

"The authority is currently studying the announced offer," the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority said in a statement.

Orascom Telecom is the third large firm that is taking steps to leave the Egyptian market this year. In February, Egypt's regulator approved an offer by Qatar National Bank to acquire Cairo's National Societe General Bank.

Source: Ahram Online

Telecom Italia down after Sawiris proposed $3.8 bln cap hike

Shares in Telecom Italia fall 1 per cent in early trading after Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris put on the table a 3-billion-euro ($3.89 billion) capital hike.

Sawiris told Reuters that he proposed that the capital increase be open to all shareholders, not just himself, and that it should be conducted around the current market price of 0.70 euros per share.

That is likely to draw the ire of other Telecom Italia shareholders, including Spain's Telefonica and the three Italian financial institutions who together own 22.4 per cent via an unlisted holding company called Telco.

Source: Ahram Online

Egypt directs France Telecom to sell 15 pct of Mobinil

Egypt's ministry of communications has sent a request to France Telecom directing it to ensure that 15 per cent of the shares of mobile phone carrier Mobinil are publicly traded or owned by Egyptian investors.

France Telecom currently owns 94 per cent of Mobinil. Earlier this year, France Telecom bought most Mobinil shares it did not already own from its local venture partner, Naguib Sawiris's Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT), leaving Orascom with 5 per cent of the shares.

Source: Ahram Online

Twitter's role in revolutionary Egypt - isolation or connection?

The role of the internet and social media in the January 25 Revolution is undeniable; despite this, some observers believe that Twitter is isolated from the mainstream of Egyptian society and that tweets (Twitter posts) represent only a small segment of the population.

Only 27 million Egyptians have access to the internet, according to the latest official numbers, out of a population of nearly 83 million. According to a September report by the Dubai School of Government about social media in the Arab world, there are around 130,000 Egyptian Twitter users (“tweeps”).

Source: Ahram Online

Telecom Egypt wants to become a fourth mobile phone operator as MVNO

Egypt could soon see a fourth mobile phone operator, with Telecom Egypt keen to obtain a licence that would let it lease infrastructure from other providers and offer its own call services. Another operator in Egypt's crowded mobile services market raises the prospect of greater competition and hence better deals for consumers.

Source: Ahram Online
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