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Mon 29 Aug 2016 01:50 PM

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Saudi Telecom, Lebara in talks on Egypt 4G mobile licence

Representatives from telcos are in Egypt to discuss possibility of obtaining fourth-gen mobile phone licence

Saudi Telecom, Lebara in talks on Egypt 4G mobile licence

Representatives from Saudi Telecom and Lebara KSA are in Egypt this week to discuss the possibility of obtaining a fourth-generation mobile phone licence, an official from Egypt's telecommunications ministry said on Monday.

"Officials from Saudi Telecom are looking into investment opportunities in the telecommunication sector in Egypt, especially the 4G mobile services. They will complete their discussions with the Minister of Communication and the National Telecom Regulatory Authority today," the official told Reuters.

Egypt's telecom minister will also hold talks today with the chairman of Lebara KSA, which was among several companies to express an interest in acquiring a 4G license, the official said.

Saudi Telecom and Lebara KSA were not immediately available for comment.

Egypt is giving companies that already operate in the country of 90 million priority in obtaining 4G licences but has said it would launch an international tender should any of the operators decline the offer.

It offered 4G licences in June to the state's fixed-line monopoly Telecom Egypt and the country's three existing mobile service providers - Orange Egypt, Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Egypt.

Only Telecom Egypt, which has long been keen to enter the mobile phone market, has accepted the terms so far.

The regulator revised its offer to the mobile operators after they expressed concerns that the frequencies on offer were too limited and has given them until Sept. 22 to give their response.

The government, which is grappling with a shortage of hard currency as economic and political turmoil in recent years has deterred foreign investment, has said it hopes to raise 22.3 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.5 bln) in total in licence fees.

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