Egypt’s political crisis in recent years has adversely affected the telecom sector. Although revenue has remained stable, profit margins and capital expenditure have fallen due to a weaker local currency, while international investors have shown caution. This has prompted the government in recent months to secure billions of dollars in funding to develop technology parks and to extend broadband availability, and in the process to create jobs in ICT and rekindle international investor interest.

Previously abandoned plans for a second fixed-line licence and a fourth mobile licence have been revived, taking the form of unified licences which will give Telecom Egypt the right to operate mobile services, while mobile network operators will gain access to the former’s fixed-line infrastructure. Though these licenses were agreed to in April 2014, numerous delays have ensued though further progress was made in September 2015.

Efforts are underway to roll out next-generation networks, offering converged IP-based voice, data and entertainment services. Egypt is well connected by several international submarine fibre optic cables, while it also has an extensive national fibre backbone and vibrant FttP deployments.

In the mobile sector there is effective competition between Etisalat Misr, Vodafone Egypt and Mobinil. SIM card penetration has increased rapidly since the third mobile licence was issued in 2006, and approached 118% by the end of 2015. The strongest growth is currently in mobile broadband. Licences to provide services based on LTE technologies are expected to be awarded in 2016, and this will go far in improving mobile broadband services in regional areas.

Egypt also has one of the most developed internet markets in Africa in terms of the number of users and the availability of services. The country’s geographical position has enabled it to capitalise on the myriad of cables which cross through it, interconnecting various parts of Europe with the Middle East and Asia. The MENA subsea cable came into commercial use in late 2015, augmenting the country’s considerable international bandwidth.

For more information see - Egypt - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses