Egypt’s 3G market is expected to grow five times in the next two years, a recent report published by the RNCOS on Monday stated. It argued that they envision the 3G market to expand to around five million users by the end of 2012.
“According to our research report “Booming Egypt Telecom Market,” the countries 3G market has been expanding at a significant rate since 2007 and is projected to grow fivefold by the end of 2012,” a press statement from the intelligence and creative solutions company said.
However, the report failed to discuss the high costs of purchasing 3G in Egypt, analyst and 3G user Hossam Gharb said. He argued that “until costs begin to come down dramatically, 3G will only be affordable for a very small segment of the population and even this estimate is high without reductions in costs to the consumer.”
RNCOS said that the country’s three main mobile operators, Vodafone, Mobinil and Etisalat are implementing a number of investment opportunities to “upgrade existing technology” aiming to increase users.
“Our report finds that the main reasons for huge investments in the 3G infrastructure by the three mobile operators in the country, is the saturation in existing 2G networks and declining ARPU in the 2G segment,” it said. “Operators are trying to convince their customers to move into the new 3G services as a way of freeing up 2G capacity and halting the steady erosion of the ARPUs.”
For Gharb, the situation needs much more than infrastructure. He says that until companies recognize the cost of living and incomes in the country it will be difficult to gain new 3G users. This, he argues, is part of the conundrum facing investment in the telecom sector.
“We have seen over the past few years a number of initiatives, but with the vast majority of Egyptians unable to afford the new services, they languish without new customers. That’s not good business,” he said.