Egypt - Telecoms Infrastructure, Operators, Regulations - Statistics and Analyses
Egypt has the largest fixed-line market in Africa and the Arab region. The incumbent telco Telecom Egypt remains 80% owned by the State, and the government retains considerable authority over the company through its representatives to the company's board: in April 2015 a number of newly made appointments resulted in the Chairman and CEO of Telecom Egypt being replaced.
The country's political crisis following the Arab Spring' revolution which began in 2011 has adversely affected the telecom sector. Although revenue has remained stable, profit margins and capital expenditure have fallen due to a weaker local currency, especially since the beginning of 2013, and international investors have shown considerable caution. The government in recent months has endeavoured to secure billions of dollars in funding to develop technology parks and to extend broadband availability, and in the process to create jobs in ICT and rekindle international investor interest.
Previously abandoned plans for a second fixed-line licence and a fourth mobile licence have been revived. They will take the form of unified licences which will give Telecom Egypt (TE) the right to operate as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) while the mobile operators would gain access to TE's fixed-line infrastructure. Though the unified licenses were agreed to in April 2014, there have been many delays in issuing them, though further progress was made in September 2015.
Efforts are underway to roll out next-generation networks, offering converged IP-based voice, data and entertainment services. Egypt is well connected by several international submarine fibre optic cables, while it also has an extensive national fibre backbone and some of Africa's most vibrant Fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) deployments. Licences for spectrum suitable for LTE, expected to be issued in early 2016, will go far to improving mobile broadband services in regional areas.
Orascom Telecom's MENA submarine cable becomes operational; Mobinil, Vodafone, Telecom Egypt sign $2 billion infrastructure sharing deal; TE replaces its Chairman and CEO after the Prime Minister appoints new government representatives to the company; political crisis affects the telecom sector; Telecom Egypt receives Unified Telecom Licence, set to enter the mobile market; mobile operators able to enter the fixed-line market under new unified licensing regime; consortium signs contract to build the EA-ME-WE 5 cable; telcos' operating and financial data to Q3 2015, regulator's market data to July 2015, recent market developments.