Nine through to Egyptian 3rd mobile licence final round

A technical evaluation has seen Saudi Telecom and Reliance Infocomm disqualified. Etisalat, MTC, Wataniya, Telecom Egypt and Qtel are among those going through the final round of bidding for one of the region's hottest opportunities.

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By  Alex Ritman Published  June 13, 2006

The hotly contested race for Egypt’s third mobile licence has seen its first fallers. The National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Egypt has announced that, of the 11 bids submitted by May 4 2006, nine will now progress to the final round of considerations. The first round, a technical evaluation, saw two bids disqualified. Consortia headed by Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Telekom Malaysia; and India’s Reliance Infocomm and Kuwait’s Emak, will both be wondering what went wrong. STC early this month had attempted boost its bidding credentials by stating that it would offer up to 20% of the new company to an Egyptian partner, should it win and Telekom Malaysia not be interested. Consortia headed by the UAE’s Etisalat, MTC and Wataniya of Kuwait, Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems, Turkcell, Telenor of Norway, Qtel of Qatar, South Africa’s MTN, and a joint venture between Telecom Egypt and Telecom Italia will now go on to the final bidding round. The nine will submit a financial proposal and then go through to a financial auction set for July 4. The third GSM licence in Egypt is considered by many operators to be one of the region’s most important opportunities. With a population close to 75 million, but a mobile penetration rate of just 18.5% at the end of 2005, there is significant growth potential.

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