Vodafone Egypt to invest $1.3 bln over three years on network

CAIRO, July 21 Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:18am EDT

CAIRO, July 21 (Reuters) - Vodafone Egypt will invest around 9.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.3 billion) over the next three years to improve its network, its recently appointed chief executive said.

Vodafone Egypt, majority owned by British mobile operator Vodafone, will finance the plan from existing funds, Ahmed Essam told a news conference in Cairo late on Sunday.

Vodafone Egypt, which is also 45-percent owned by fixed-line telecoms firm Telecom Egypt, is the leading communications player by customer numbers in the country of 86 million.

Egypt is finalising the details of a long-awaited unified licence which will allow firms to offer both mobile and landline telecommunications.

To gain access to Telecom Egypt's fixed line network is expected to cost 100 million pounds.

Vodafone Egypt is still studying the possibility of offering landline services and has not reached a decision, Essam said.

Telecom Egypt has been given a one-year deadline to sell its stake in Vodafone Egypt once the unified licence is activated.

Asked about the progress of the sale, Essam said it was a matter for the board of Vodafone Group and shareholders.

Essam was appointed as CEO this month.

($1 = 7.1500 Egyptian Pounds) (Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Mark Potter)