Egypt’s Mobinil says interconnect rates unfair
Mobinil, one of Egypt’s three mobile operators, said it could accept a drop in interconnection rates but that levels suggested by the regulator were “not reasonable.” The firm said on Monday a change in interconnection rates between it and state-owned fixed-line monopoly Telecom Egypt should be part of a broader package of changes. The latter includes lower rates for leases lines and service level agreements from Telecom Egypt.
“We are in very serious discussions and I dare say disagreements on points of view with the regulator on a drop they are suggesting for interconnection between the fixed and the mobile networks,” Mobinil Chairman Alex Shalaby told a conference call on the firm’s third-quarter results.
“The regulator wants to bring this interconnection rate to a level that we feel is not reasonable,” he added. Mobinil said on Sunday that it would take legal action after the National Telecoms Regulatory Authority ruled on a dispute in favor of Telecom Egypt by changing interconnect prices between fixed and mobile networks.
Mobinil, whose main shareholders are France Telecom and Orascom Telecom, said it hoped to get resolution on the matter “before too long.” It gave no further details on the NTRA decision.
Shalaby said that Telecom Egypt had wanted Mobinil to drop the interconnectivity rates to below LE 0.15 ($0.0269) to terminate on Mobinil’s network and LE 0.10 to terminate on the fixed-line network.
“They are looking for something below that. And this is where we felt that we would like to draw the line because as I said it was part of a package that included other stuff,” Shalaby said.
Shalaby said that Mobinil could accept a drop “in principle” but wanted it to come in a package that would also address what he described as “aberrations” on leased lines, which he said were priced higher than international norms. “We are looking for a better revenue sharing regime between us and Telecom Egypt. And also the quality of service or service level agreements,” he said.
Telecom Egypt officials could not be immediately reached for comment.