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11 bidders for third Egyptian licence

The bids are in for Egypt's much talked about third mobile licence and the eleven-strong list includes the usual suspects of regional operators eyeing expansion.

Egypt’s telecommunications regulatory body has announced that it has received 11 bids for the country’s third mobile licence. The bids were due in on May 4, and a technical assessment of them will now take a further six to eight weeks. According to the TRA the qualifying companies will then be asked to make financial bids and take part in an auction.

Non-Egyptian bidders have, in accordance with the bidding stipulations, partnered with local companies to take part in the process. The list includes well-known faces from across the Middle East region, and also from Russia and Norway, many having announced the importance of Egypt’s third licence in their expansion plans some time ago. With a population close to 75 million and a mobile penetration of just 18.5 % at the end of 2005, there is significant growth potential.

The eventual winner will join a mobile market currently shared by Orascom-owned MobiNil and Vodafone.

The 11 bidders are:

Telecom Egypt and Telecom Italia

Etisalat, the Egyptian Post Office, National Bank of Egypt and Commercial International Bank

MTC of Kuwait and EFG-Hermes

Mobile Telesystems (MTS) of Russia and TeleTech of Egypt

Turkcell of Turkey, Banque Misr of Egypt and Gulf Finance Company

Telenor of Norway and Egypt's National Telecommunications

Wataniya International of Kuwait with Univest, al Watany Bank of Egypt and Aman Trading

Qtel of Qatar with the Naeem Group and Singapore Tech Telemedia

Saudi Telecom (STC) with Telekom Malaysia and a company transliterated as Biko Telecom

MTN of South Africa and Raya Holdings

Emak, a company in Kuwait's Kharafi Group, and India's Reliance

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