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Tuesday, 15 September 2020

MNOs to submit bids for new cellular frequencies on Thursday

The country’s four mobile network operators (MNOs) will submit bids on Thursday for new cellular frequencies being offered by the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA), Hapi Journal reports. Vodafone, Orange, WE, and Etisalat can bid for more than one allocation at once, sources told the newspaper. According to the sources, one of the MNOs already has spare frequencies on its network, leading NTRA to issue a decision allowing a maximum of three out of the four MNOs to receive spectrum. The offering includes spectrum with a minimum bid of USD 600 mn and a separate package for which the minimum bid is USD 300 mn.

In detail: The NTRA will sell a 40 MHz package for USD 600 mn and sell two 20-MHz packages for USD 300 mn each. Vodafone has reportedly got its eye on the 40 MHz offering while Orange, Etisalat and WE want 20 MHz each, which would leave one company empty handed.

Background: The MNOs have repeatedly asked the NTRA to provide access to more spectrum since 2017 when the regulator first launched 4G in the country. NTRA sold licenses for 4G frequencies for USD 1.1 bn and EGP 10 bn, asking that MNOs pay half the cost in greenbacks and half in EGP. Each provider was allocated spectrum between 5-15 MHz, with state-owned Telecom Egypt receiving 15 MHz, Orange and Etisalat both getting 10 MHz, and Vodafone receiving 5 MHz.

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