CAIRO, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Egyptian mobile phone carrier Mobinil may opt out of the government’s recently-approved unified mobile and landline licence unless the price improves and it gets more clarity on the terms, the company’s chief executive said on Wednesday.
A decision by one of the country’s three mobile operators to not participate in the new license would be a blow to Egypt’s long-awaited plans to reform the telecommunications sector.
“We are studying (the unified license) but the price is high compared to the revenue you can generate,” Mobinil CEO Yves Gauthier told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference.
Asked if Mobinil may decide not to enter the landline market, Gauthier said: “It could be, but today we didn’t make the decision yet ... we will have a final position I would say in the coming three to four weeks.”
Egypt’s government in September approved a long-awaited plan to issue a unified landline and mobile telecoms licence, opening the way for state fixed-line monopoly Telecom Egypt to enter the more lucrative mobile market.
The plan will also allow the three existing mobile service providers, Vodafone Egypt, Mobinil and Etisalat Egypt , to offer fixed-line services by paying to access Telecom Egypt’s landline network.
Telecom Egypt would pay the government about 2.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($350 million) to enter the mobile market, while the mobile providers are expected to pay 100 million pounds to access Telecom Egypt’s fixed-line network.
Besides the price, Gauthier said other details would need to be hammered out before Mobinil would agree to pay for access to Telecom Egypt’s network.
“The question is, what are the possibilities and the rights we will have (on the fixed network)? Are we able to be our own access network? Are we able to charge a fee on the network? ... Is the network we pay for going to be fibre optic? ... Are we allowed to do voice-over-IP?” Gauthier said.
“These are some of the key questions we need to address with the regulator,” he said. (1 US dollar = 7.1500 Egyptian pound) (Reporting by Shadi Bushra; Editing by Lin Noueihed and David Holmes)