Orascom invests in fixed network

The consortium was the only bidder for the US$65 million concession, which is valid for 15 years and is held in partnership with Telecom Egypt. Orascom and Telecom Egypt have a 50/50 participation in the venture.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  March 3, 2005

Egypt-based mobile operator Orascom Telecom yesterday announced its first foray into fixed-line telecoms operations by participating in the winning consortium of Algeria’s first private fixed-line license. The consortium was the only bidder for the US$65 million concession, which is valid for 15 years and is held in partnership with Telecom Egypt. Orascom and Telecom Egypt have a 50/50 participation in the venture. “This is Orascom’s first fixed-line investment and we believe there are strong strategic decisions to justify it,” Dina Abou Zenada, Orascom Telecom spokesman said. “Telecom Egypt is a knowledgeable company with regards to pure fixed-line operations and I think the tie-up with Orascom will be beneficial for all parties involved, including the Algerian telecoms sector as a whole,” Zenada told Comms MEA. Orascom Telecom is principally a mobile operator with investments in nine markets spanning the Middle East, Africa and Asia, including the leading cellular operator in Algeria, Djezzy. Combined fixed and mobile penetration in Algeria is estimated at lower than 10% of the 33 million + population, with mobile subscribers accounting for the vast majority of the country’s telecoms users. Investment in the fixed-line network, forecast to exceed US$1 billion over the 15-year lifespan of the license, is expected to have a positive effect on the already vibrant mobile communications sector through the increase of fixed-mobile and mobile-fixed calls. The new fixed operator also has been granted a two-year exclusivity period to operate both national and international services based on terms that are being negotiated at this time.

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