New unified licensing regime for fixed and mobile networks
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). The country’s telecom regulator is preparing to issue Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) licences, with fixed-line operator Telecom Egypt (TE) standing ready to enter the market. In return, the mobile network operators will gain access to TE’s fixed-line infrastructure under a unified licensing regime. 4G/LTE licences are planned for 2016.
Egypt also has the largest fixed-line market in Africa and the Arab region, with a profitable incumbent telco which has been partially privatised through an IPO. However, the country’s political crisis has not left the sector unaffected: Revenue has actually risen in certain segments, but profit margins and capital expenditure are down due to a weaker local currency, especially since the beginning of 2013.