TELECOM EGYPT TO LAUNCH 3RD GSM OPERATOR IN LAST QUARTER 03

Telecoms

Egypt’s state fixed-line operator Telecom Egypt plans to launch the country’s third GSM mobile telephone network together with a foreign partner in the last quarter of this year, a Telecom Egypt official said last week, according to Reuters. "The mobile operation will be (launched) before the end of this year... in the last quarter of this year," said the official, who declined to be named.

Telecom Egypt was legally able to launch a network from December 1, 2002 after an exclusivity agreement with the first two operators Vodafone Egypt VOD.L and the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (MobiNil) EMOB.CA expired.But it has yet to finalise the project and announce a foreign partner it said it would use for the venture. Telecom Egypt must also select a company to build the network.

The official said Telecom Egypt was still in talks with a foreign operator over a possible deal that would give the partner at least 20 percent in the third mobile network in the most populous Arab country of some 70 million people.Market speculation has centred around Austria’s Mobilkom TELA.VI , Spain’s Telefonica TEF.MC , Telecom Italia Mobile TIM.MI and Deutsche Telekom DTEGn.DE as possible partners for Telecom Egypt, as well as some Arab operators.