Telecom Egypt targets private payphone providers

Telecom Egypt is planning to step up its focus on the country’s payphone sector in a bid to reverse five years of declining market share.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  April 19, 2004

Telecom Egypt is planning to step up its focus on the country’s payphone sector in a bid to reverse five years of declining market share. The telco, which has been losing ground to private operators, Menatel and Nile Telecom, since their entrance in 1998, is planning to expand the number of terminals it operates this year. It recently contracted three companies to increase its base of public cabins in different governorates across Egypt, and says it is in discussions about investing in an unnamed supplier that is planning to start manufacturing terminals locally. The recently-struck deal will see Al Qods Trading Co., Al Meem Engineering Co. and MAS Contracting installing 3,000 kiosks for Telecom Egypt, using prepaid smart cards. The move signals an attempt by the telco to buck the trend where North Africa’s incumbent operators have been losing ground to private, more nimble payphone providers. “When we signed the agreement with the two private operators, it was agreed that Telecom Egypt would slow down its deployment of payphones and give a chance for both companies to grow,” says Akil Beshir, Telecom Egypt’s chairman. “But this is over now and we are planning to focus heavily on payphones, both in rural and urban areas,” he adds. In Egypt, Menatel now holds the highest market share, with 30,000 units. It is also aiming to cement its position this year with the introduction of per-second billing, a common tariff for local and national calls, and various value added services.

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