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Fri 22 Jan 2010 10:16 AM

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Egypt may offer 4th mobile licence - paper

Mobinil, Etisalat Egypt may face competition if they do not comply with pricing regulations.

Egypt's telecoms regulator may offer a licence for a fourth mobile operator if the current three mobile firms do not comply with pricing regulations, the daily al-Mal said on Thursday.

"There are no obstacles to issuing a fourth mobile licence in Egypt ... but offering the licence will mainly depend on market demand in the coming period," the paper quoted Amr Badawi, head of the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA), as saying.

The NTRA was not immediately available for comment.

The paper said mobile firms had objected to regulations including that their mobile-to-fixed minute rates must not exceed mobile-to-mobile rates between networks. It added the NTRA had said it would not rescind the new policies.

"Before setting these rules and regulations, we sent queries and surveys to the mobile operators but we received no replies from the companies ... (They) have the right to approach the administrative court to object about the authority's decisions," Al Mal quoted Badawi as saying.

The three existing licence holders are Mobinil; Vodafone Egypt, a unit of global player Vodafone; and Etisalat Egypt, a unit of Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat. (Reuters)

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