Egypt phone licence auction could be moved

Bidding for country's second licence could take place next summer, Minister says.

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By  Andrew White Published  October 12, 2008

Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology has said that the auction of the country’s second fixed licence – postponed until September 2009 due to the global market woes – could take place as early as next summer.

“It may be next summer – if the markets get back on track we would definitely consider [moving the auction],” Dr Tarek Kamel told Arabian Business by phone from Cairo.

He added that the move to postpone the auction – while necessary – had hurt the growth of the Egyptian telecoms market.

“Competition is always healthy and whenever we have competition there is an improvement in services, prices and quality,” he said.

“However we have to live with the existing conditions - it’s unfortunate but we have to wait until conditions are better. It has definitely slowed down the growth of the market.”

The Egyptian telecommunications regulator NTRA had decided to postpone the auction for a second fixed-line licence for one year, after some of the potential bidder said they were suffering due to rising prices and inflation, and were wary of new overseas investments. Interested parties include Etisalat, Orascom Telecom, and France Telecom.

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