CAIRO, Aug 7 (Reuters) - The board of Telecom Egypt , the country’s landline monopoly, gave its final approval on Sunday for plans to buy a fourth-generation mobile phone licence, a senior source at the company said.
The source told Reuters that Telecom Egypt would pay the full amount requested by the regulator for one of four 4G licences the government is selling as part of a shake-up of the sector. The source did not give the price.
The reforms will potentially allow Telecom Egypt, which owns a 45 percent stake in Vodafone Egypt, to enter the mobile phone market directly. They could also allow Egypt’s three mobile operators to offer fixed-line services, ending Telecom Egypt’s dominance.
Egypt’s telecom regulator has directly offered 4G licences to the three companies currently offering mobile services - Orange Egypt, Vodafone Egypt, and Etisalat -- as well as to Telecom Egypt. Only Orange Egypt has disclosed the price it has been offered to obtain the licence -- about $400 million.
The operators have until the first week of August to submit responses.
The government hopes to collect a total of 22.3 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.51 billion) in licence fees, Communications and Information Technology minister Yasser al-Kadi said in June. ($1 = 8.8799 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing by Lin Noueihed and Ahmed Aboulenein, editing by David Evans)