Telecom Italia is the latest big name to be considering a bid for Egypt’s third mobile licence, according to AFX News. ‘Telecom Italia is evaluating the possibility of participating,’ an industry source was reported as saying, unable to comment further on financial commitment. A company spokesman declined to comment. Egypt’s National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) says 18 companies have paid USD25,000 for tender documents for the auction of the GSM licence already. Etisalat of the UAE, MTC of Kuwait and South Africa’s MTN are all planning to bid and, despite previous comments that incumbent fixed line operator Telecom Egypt would not be allowed to participate, it has been reported that the telco has been given tacit authority to enter the tender. Telenor of Norway, Qatar Telecom and Russia's MTS are also rumoured to be considering a bid. Interested parties have until 17 April to submit their proposals and pay a USD4.4 million bond guarantee. To qualify for the licence, foreign bidders must partner with an Egyptian entity.