Orange Egypt to buy 4G licence for $484m

James Pearce
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Operator will become second to launch 4G in the country after Telecom Egypt

Orange Egypt is set to become the country’s second mobile operator offering 4G services after signing a licensing agreement.

The operator will pay $484 million for 2 x 10 megahertz of 4G spectrum, along with $11.3 million for a virtual fixed-line licence, allowing it to follow Telecom Egypt in to the the 4G market.

Orange SA will finance the deal, which will be paid half in US dollars and half in Egyptian pounds, according to CEO Jean Marc Harion.

Fixed line monopoly Telecom Egypt was originally the only operator to buy a 4G licence when they originally went on sale in August, paying $797 million to enter the mobile directly for the first time.

Rivals including Orange, Vodafone and Etisalat turned down the licence, saying the amount of spectrum on offer was not sufficient for the service to evolve efficiently. This led the National Telecom Regulatory Authority to announce that operators paying in US dollars would be given priority when buying additional spectrum.

“The only reason for our refusal before was not having enough spectrum to provide adequate services and that is what has happened now,” Harion said at a press conference.

The regulator will now give other operators until 23 October to request 4G licence.