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Monday, 5 September 2016

MNOs take a hardline against Telecom Egypt in talks to use their networks

MNOs take a hardline against Telecom Egypt in talks to use their networks: Vodafone Egypt, Orange Egypt and Etisalat Misr are reportedly looking to set a mandatory minimum for the share of revenue Telecom Egypt will have to pay for piggybacking on their 2G and 4G network — and they’re refusing to give ground on the issue, sources tell Al Borsa. The infrastructure sharing pact is a feature of the 4G license agreement TE signed last Wednesday. The newspaper is positing that the hardline MNOs are taking with TE is payback for the grief the state-owned fixed-line monopoly has caused them over its refusal to lower the high prices it has set for using its internet infrastructure to deliver ADSL services.

TE hiding behind NTRA? Whatever the end game, TE has a large buffer in the talks, being cushioned by the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority’s notice that it will step in and set infrastructure sharing rates itself if the parties fail to reach an agreement. TE chief executive Tamer Gadallah said as much, telling Youm7 that they have three months at the latest to reach an agreement before the NTRA intervenes, something the MNOs have decried as undue intervention by the regulator in the market. TE is due to launch 4G services within six months.

In other 4G news, TE has borrowed EGP 5 bn to finance its acquisition of a 4G licence from a syndicate that includes the National Bank of Egypt, QNB Al Ahli, and CIB as well as two unnamed “international banks,” a source told Al Mal. On the day of the agreement’s signing, it was made public that NBE and QNB Al Ahli were arranging the syndicated loan. A source said TE used EGP 2-3 bn in “credit facilities” to pay for the first tranche of EGP 5.2 bn of the 4G licence fees as it awaits final arrangement of the facility. The story did not break down the terms or the amount covered by each participating member of the syndicate.

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