OTMT unit secures Telecom Egypt link for MENA cable network

CAIRO Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:05pm EST

CAIRO Jan 22 (Reuters) - Telecom Egypt has sold rights for the use of part of its infrastructure to a subsidiary of Egypt's Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT) , bringing the subsidiary closer to launching a submarine cable network.

Once completed the Middle East and North Africa Submarine Cable Systems (MENA) fibre optic network will link up Italy, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman and India, the company said in an emailed statement.

MENA, which the company had previously hoped would be fully operational in June last year, has been delayed by a lack of regulatory approvals for its terrestrial section passing through Egypt, OTMT official Marwan Hussein said.

After signing the "indefeasible right of use" agreement with Telecom Egypt and acquiring mandatory permits, OTMT expects to launch MENA within a year as all marine construction was completed last year, it said.

It is to pay $30 million "within this year" as part of the agreement, Hussien told Reuters in an email.

The agreement will allow MENA to use Telecom Egypt's link between Zaarafana on the Red Sea and Abu Talat on the Mediterranean for 20 years, OTMT said.

OTMT's shares closed up 8.5 percent at 1.15 Egyptian pounds ($0.17) on Wednesday. ($1=6.9610 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Greg Mahlich)