With Egypt looking to postpone a fourth mobile license, Telecom Egypt is upping its pressure on Vodafone to take over the UK-based company’s Egyptian unit. Already with a 45 percent stake, the land line monopoly believes the acquisition would help boost its revenue for the future.
Telecom Egypt failed in an earlier attempt to take over the remaining assets of Vodafone in an unsuccessful bid last year.
Egypt’s Minister of Communications Maguid Osman told local reporters, at a press conference earlier this month, that “there are a lot of changes in Egypt now and we are not sure whether launching a new license at this moment is the right decision from the economic point of view.”
As the country begins to rebuild itself from 18-days of protests that saw the government of three decades fall, telecom companies believe the future of the industry will be in the mobile market.
“We are looking to boost our shares in Vodafone because it will mean greater profit and competitivity in the country as people look to get rid of landlines,” said one Telecom Egypt official on Saturday. He was not authorized to speak to the media.
It remains unclear what Vodafone plans to do in Egypt. Last year it was looking to sell off its shares and move away from the country, but now that the market has increased dramatically and optimism surround the mobile sector, it may decide to push for a greater role in competing with Mobinil and Etisalat, the other two operators in Egypt.
By Desmond Shephard