Free internet to force Egyptian ISP mergers

Egypt’s so-called free internet model is set to catalyse consolidation among the country’s ISPs, according to a new study.

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By  Richard Brown Published  June 5, 2002

The Arab Advisors Group’s Egypt Internet and Datacomm Landscape Report 2002, projects that Egypt will boast 680,000 internet accounts in 2006, a penetration rate of 0.93%, up from 0.18% in 2001.

Shahin Shahin, an analyst at the research group, explains that his definition of internet accounts embraces regular users of the free internet model.

“In 2006, internet users are projected to exceed 2.6 million in Egypt, up from an estimated 540,000 in 2001. While the subscribers and users will grow, we see strong signs of an impending consolidation and shakeout phase in the country that will reduce the number of infrastructure-based ‘real’ ISPs to 9 by 2006.”

Shahin claims that privately branded virtual ISPs, promoted by major brand names in Egypt in association with the large ISPs, are expected to increase to 145 by 2006. Meanwhile, revenues from internet access are set to soar from US$19.1 million last year to US$ 81.5 million in 2006.

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