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Telecom Egypt secures 5G license

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Telecom Egypt has secured the first fifth-generation (5G) license in the country from the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) for US$150 million, placing it in a good position to launch the technology.

The license will be valid for 15 years.

"Telecom Egypt took this step to expedite the nation's digitalization process and foster the expansion of various industries' advancements, which will ultimately benefit the entire economy and improve Egypt's international ranking in the ICT sector," the telco said in a statement.

Telecom Egypt said the technology will provide lower latency, higher capacity and increased bandwidth to improve the customer experience overall, particularly during high usage periods.

"5G is the backbone of future technology development, and when combined with other technologies, e.g. fiber optic technologies, will revolutionize our everyday life and transform the way businesses perform," said Telecom Egypt's managing director and CEO, Mohamed Nasr.

He added that Telecom Egypt being the first company in the country to receive this license also reinforces the strength of its infrastructure.

"Our capital expenditure over the past few years is bearing fruit. We plan to leverage our licenses to our advantage to enhance the customer experience, and fulfil the expectations of both consumers and businesses while maximising shareholder value," he explained.

Telecom Egypt's 5G license comes on the back of the telco and Zain Omantel International (ZOI) this week partnering to establish what they call a new digital corridor, connecting the Mediterranean to the Arabian Sea and Arabian Gulf.

African 5G ambitions

The Egyptian government reportedly announced 5G plans in October 2023, and Telecom Egypt is the first telco to be awarded a license.

Telecom Egypt's 5G license follows a trend of other African countries either launching or announcing plans to launch the technology.

The 5G trend has also led to Todd Ashton, MD of Ericsson Kenya and VP and head of South and East Africa, saying that 5G provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to disrupt and redesign industries in Kenya and across Africa.

Telecom Egypt's 5G license will be valid for 15 years.   (Source: Image by on Freepik)
Telecom Egypt's 5G license will be valid for 15 years.
(Source: Image by on Freepik)

Earlier this month, Somali mobile operator Somtel launched its 5G network.

The technology has been developing in leaps and bounds on the continent and recently the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) awarded 5G licenses to three operators, while Orange announced that it was testing 5G in Sierra Leone.

Moreover, Orange has announced that it has put plans in place to launch 5G services in most of its African markets by the end of 2024.

Ethiopian state-owned telecom operator Ethio Telecom launched its commercial 5G services in September 2023.

The Ethio Telecom launch came on the back of Emtel becoming the second telco to launch 5G services in the island nation of Mauritius in August 2023.

That launch followed similar ones by MTN and Airtel in Uganda and Airtel in Zambia in August 2023.

Egyptian mobile market

Under a privatization push, the Egyptian government sold its 9.5% stake in Telecom Egypt in May 2023, and in September 2023 said it was considering selling more.

It will be interesting to see which other telcos will secure 5G licenses in Egypt.

According to statistics from market research company Omdia, a sister company of Connecting Africa, at the end of 2023 Telecom Egypt had about 12.7 million mobile subscribers.

Follow Connecting Africa on our new X account @connect__africa to get the latest telecoms and tech news across Africa.

Vodafone Egypt – now majority controlled by SA's Vodacom – is the country's biggest mobile operator with 47.6 million subscribers around the same period.

Orange Egypt has about 29.1 million subscribers. Etisalat follows it, with about 28 million subscribers.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Telecom Egypt investor relations website

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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