New mobile and fixed-line licences may be tendered in 2013
The strongest growth is currently seen in mobile broadband services, which offers the network operators new revenue streams in an environment of falling average revenue per user (ARPU). All three operators have also acquired controlling stakes in leading data and Internet service providers.
Egypt became one of the first countries in Africa to launch 3G mobile services, following the award of the country&rsquo ; s third mobile licence in 2006. The record price that was paid for the licence indicated the potential that is seen in the Egyptian mobile market, and the penetration rate has indeed multiplied since then and broke the 100% barrier in 2011. A fourth mobile licence may be tendered in 2013.
Egypt also has the largest fixed-line market in Africa and the Arab region, with a highly profitable incumbent telco (Telecom Egypt) which was partially privatised through an IPO. A second national fixed-line licence tendered in 2009 received strong interest from international bidders, but the process has been postponed to at least 2013. Instead, two regionally limited triple-play licences for fixed-line voice, high-speed broadband and pay-TV services were issued in 2010. Efforts are underway to roll out next-generation networks, offering converged IP-based voice, data and entertainment services.
Mobile penetration has broken the 100% barrier ; Decline in fixed-line subscriptions continues ; Mobile ARPU continues to fall ; Some of the lowest broadband and mobile tariffs in Africa ; More than 60% annual growth in mobile broadband subscriptions ; New mobile or fixed-line licences may be tendered in 2013.
Estimated market penetration rates in Egypt&rsquo ; s telecoms sector ; end-2012 Market Penetration rate Mobile 115% Fixed 10% Internet 44% (Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)