By Roger Field
Etisalat's Egyptian subsidiary eyes country's ISP market ahead of a possible bid for second fixed-line licence
Etisalat Misr, the Egyptian subsidiary of Etisalat, has agreed to buy a 27.27% stake in Nile Online (NOL) and a 16.46% stake in the Egyptian Company for Networks (EgyNet), from Egypt Telecom. Both transactions are expected to be complete by March 31, 2008.
The deal may indicate Etisalat Misr's desire to strengthen its position in Egypt's ISP sector ahead of making a bid for the country's second fixed-line, which is due to be put up for auction later in the year, according to industry analysts.
While Etisalat Misr and Egypt Telecom were unable to comment on the value of the deal, Akil Beshir, chairman and CEO of Telecom Egypt, said the sale of the stakes in NOL and EgyNet would help his company focus on its core internet subsidiary, TE Data.
"This move represents excellent value for Telecom Egypt and provides us with the opportunity to focus on our majority owned Internet subsidiary, TE Data, which is currently the market leader and is growing rapidly," he said. "It is another example of the Egyptian telecommunications and data market, in particular, organizing itself more formally, which we embrace."