Eygpt may consider offering a fourth mobile operator licence, reports the Reuters news agency, citing the local al-Mal newspaper. The tender for the license is being a Damoclean Sword being held over the incumbent operators if they do not adapt recent rulings on the tariffs they charge to customers.
"There are no obstacles to issuing a fourth mobile licence in Egypt ... but offering the licence will mainly depend on market demand in the coming period," the paper quoted Amr Badawi, head of the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA), as saying.
The newspaper added that the operators have objected to recent pricing policies issued by the regulator.
"Before setting these rules and regulations, we sent queries and surveys to the mobile operators but we received no replies from the companies ... (They) have the right to approach the administrative court to object about the authority's decisions," Al Mal quoted Badawi as saying.
Egypt currently had three operators, and based on figures from the Mobile World analysts, their market shares are: Mobinil (45.2%), Vodafone (42.6%) and Etisalat Misr (12.2%). The country has a population penetration level of 62%.
The regulator is already planning to issue two fixed line licenses aimed at triple-play operators outside the capital, Cairo.