TELECOMS

Telecom Egypt says it will remain sole fixed voice provider

Egypt’s monopoly fixed line provider, Telecom Egypt, has claimed that it will remain the country’s sole fixed line voice provider despite the recent announcement that the country’s regulator was preparing to offer two new triple-play concessions, Reuters reports.

The clarification comes after recent reports that the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) will offer two triple-play licences allowing the sale of fixed line voice, high speed broadband and pay-TV services in upscale suburbs outside Cairo which contain between 50 and 5,000 housing units. ‘Maybe triple-play is not the accurate word, although that was what was announced. Triple-play includes voice, data and video. What's on offer does not include fixed voice at all,’ Telecom Egypt’s CEO Tarek Tantawy said, adding, ‘The two new licence operators will not be allowed to provide voice services, they will have to give us access to their network to provide voice services.’ Operators reportedly interested in the concessions include local companies Orascom Telecom and Vodafone Egypt, as well as UAE-based Etisalat.

In separate but related news Bloomberg reports that Telecom Egypt would consider increasing its stake in Vodafone Egypt, were the Vodafone Group to offer an increased stake in the cellco. Additionally, Mr Tantawy has indicated that the company is ‘keeping its eyes open’ for acquisitions, both in Egypt and in other regions.

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