CAIRO: To avoid investors’ anger over the issue of a fourth license, Telecom Egypt should issue its 45-percent shares of Vodafone’s capital in an initial public offering, suggested Wael Anba, the board chairperson of al-Awael Company for Portfolio of Securities on Friday in remarks published by Almal newspaper.
A dispute broke out between Telecom Egypt and three private mobile operators, Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat Misr, Mobinil. Telecom Egypt owns a 45 percent share in Vodafone, and has a monopoly on fixed line service. The launch of a forth mobile network would violate its partnership with Vodafone.
The government gave Telecom Egypt Co. a year to divest from Vodafone Egypt after it received a license of providing fixed lines and mobile services, Almal reported.
Telecom Egypt has 5 million EGP in cash, “so it has no need to take out a loan to pay for the forth license of launching the mobile services beside the mobile companies,”Mohamed al-Nawawy, executive chairperson of Telecom Egypt said, reported Al Masry Al Youm.
In return, the government offered the three mobile operators a unified license for owing fixed line services. The operators announced that the unified license is under consideration.
On March 3, Vodafone Egypt threatened to pusue international arbitration if Telecom Egypt received aunified license.
“A unified license, allowing operators to offer both fixed and mobile services, would allow state-owned Telecom Egypt to piggy-back on mobile networks in exchange for giving access to its own fixed-line infrastructure. That access, though, is limited to Telecom Egypt’s aged copper network. Vodafone argues this unfairly hands an advantage to the fixed-line operator.” Vodafone added in a statement.
The other two operators gave their reservations on the unified license and are still in negotiations with the government; however, an Eitsalat Misr spokesperson, citing the company policy, said that arbitration would be a last resort if the unified license were issued without fair rules and transparency, Bloomberg reported on March 4.