4G’s Impending Arrival in Egypt Still a Giant Cluster…Mess
It seems Egypt’s mobile operators and government authorities just can’t come to an agreement over 4G licenses, and despite an Aug. 7 deadline and 48-hour extension we still have no idea what’s going to happen. (Surprised? Anyone? Yeah, we thought so.)
Among the issues at stake are a requirement that a portion of 4G fees be paid in USD (which we all know no one has), the fact that there’s not enough mobile spectrum available for 4G, and mobile operators’ discomfiture at Telecom Egypt joining the mobile game while holding a major (45%) share in Vodafone Egypt.
The National Telecom Regulation Authority is refusing to negotiate a requirement that mobile operators pay part of their 4G fees in USD, Enterprise reported yesterday, quoting Al Mal. The NTRA is also refusing to offer more of the mobile spectrum for sale. From what we understand, the spectrum currently on offer is insufficient to the extent that the additional traffic from 4G on existing networks could worsen the 2G and 3G services we already have. (Erm, if that’s the case, can we keep what little service we already have, please?!)
TE’s board has finally (officially) given the go-ahead for the company to apply for one of four 4G licenses on offer, a spokesperson told Reuters on Sunday, so we’re pretty sure arguments over what fees Telecom Egypt would pay to the current mobile operators for using their networks to offer its own 4G services (according to Enterprise) are going to continue as well.
And to top it all off, Al Borsa is reporting that the NTRA’s insistence on payment in foreign currency is actually illegal, because it violates legislation requiring all local contracts to be settled in EGP. Way to go, guys! This is definitely going to help solve the black market in dollars…
WE SAID THIS: As anxious as we are for 4G, we really hope we don’t have to suffer worse 2G and 3G in the process of getting it!