STC may give stake in third licence to Egyptian company

As the race for Egypt's third mobile licence heats up, Saudi Telecom has said that if it wins the bid it will offer up to 20% of the new company to an Egyptian partner, should initial partner Telekom Malayisia not be interested.

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By  Alex Ritman Published  June 4, 2006

Saudi incumbent operator STC is willing to give up to 20% of its shares in Egypt’s third mobile operator to whichever Egyptian company it forms an alliance with, should it win the upcoming licence, according to press reports. In May 2006, STC joined forces with Telekom Malaysia to bid for the third licence, giving the South-East Asian operator a choice between controlling a 15-20% stake in the new operations, or provision of technical support without any share ownership. STC president Saud Al Dowaish was quoted saying that should Telekom Malaysia not be interested in a 15% or 20% stake in the new company, he would form an alliance with Telecom Egypt, the Egyptian Postal Co. or any other Egyptian company. Telecom Egypt is currently partnering with Telecom Italia to bid, while the Egyptian Postal Co. has an alliance with the UAE’s Etisalat. The statement by Al Dowaish is believed to be a strategic move to win over support for STC's bid. The terms of the bid stipulate that international companies entering the tender will be looked upon favourably should they partner with local companies and be willing to trade a portion of the shares on the Egyptian stock exchange after two years of operation. Egypt’s telecommunications regulatory body announced that it received 11 bids for the third licence, with operators from across the Middle East, Africa and Europe participating.

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