Egypt’s National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) is in discussions to issue 5G licenses in Egypt, according to local press reports.
The licenses could be available as early as December, with licensing fees placed at a minimum of US$500 million, though this remains unconfirmed.
To incentivise participation, the license fees may be paid in foreign currency, potentially providing a lucrative source of foreign exchange.
The country has four major players — Orange, Vodafone, Etisalat, and Telecom Egypt — all of which are expected to bid. However, according to the Ashraq Business news service, operators in Egypt have recently asked the NTRA to permit an increase in service prices by up to 30% as profit margins continue to shrink due to rising inflation.
Ashraq’s sources also suggest that the authority and operators have had meetings about the licences and that the licence offering date could be pushed back to early 2024 if operators need the time to secure any necessary funding.
This appears to be the very first indication that Egypt is finally pushing on with 5G licensing, although no bidding or qualification system has yet been mentioned and a two-month window seems very short.
However, as we reported at the time, in early 2022 the NTRA did allocate new frequencies to Orange Egypt that could be used for both 4G and 5G deployments.