RUSSIAN AFK SISTEMA PLANS TO PARTICIPATE IN GSM TENDER IN EGYPT

Telecoms

Major Russian holding AFK Sistema plans to participate in a tender for a GSM license in Egypt, Sistema's President Vladimir Yevtushenkov said, Kommersant business daily reported Thursday.

Yevtushenkov said that operations in the country have a good outlook as Egyptians’ prosperity is expected to grow and the average age in the country is 27 years. "Any serious player on the international telecommunication market has to consider operating in Egypt," Yevtushenkov said. Currently, there are two GSM mobile operators in Egypt - Vodafone Egypt and MobiNil.

The tender is expected to take place this month, the daily said, adding that it is not clear yet how Sistema will participate in it, whether it be through its telecommunication assets managing company Sistema Telecom, or through its subsidiary Mobile TeleSystems (MTS).

Kuwait's MTC, UAE's Etisalat, Telecom Egypt and an alliance between Egypt's Raya Holding and the Republic of South Africa’s MTN Group are also expected to participate in the tender, the daily said. Mobile penetration in Egypt, which has a population of about 80 million people, stands at 15%.

Last year, Sistema wanted to buy 49% of Indian telecommunication company Aircel Telecom Ventures and MTS participated in a tender for Turkey's mobile operator Telsim, but neither of the Russian companies managed to expand abroad.

The subscriber base of Russia’s largest mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) stood at 61.687 million people as of January 31, Advanced Communications & Media (AC&M) said Thursday. MTS operates in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Prime-Tass