The Egyptian government is counting on the information and communications technology (ICT) sector to drive national economy growth in the upcoming period.
The Ministry of Communication and Information (MICT) plans to increase the sector’s growth rate by 10% during the next fiscal year (2016/2017) in accordance with the directives received by the presidency.
During the Cairo ICT 2015 Conference, the ministry presented the main features of the strategy, including new frequencies for mobile phones, with fourth-generation (4G) services due for launch during 2016.
MICT is currently in discussions with those responsible for the provision of 4G, to ensure the smooth deployment of the technology, according to Minister Yasser El-Kady.
Mustafa Abdel Wahid, acting chief executive of the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA), said implementing the plan is currently suspended due to the large number of potential users and the need to coordinate the introduction of 4G with changes in frequencies used for televisions.
Currently there are around 16 million users with televisions working on analogue technology, and the plan is to eventually transfer all televisions to digital technology.
“We are studying how to resolve this problem by providing devices that convert these televisions broadcasts into digital broadcasts,” he said. These devices will be purchased by funding from NTRA’s comprehensive services fund.
The CEO of Telecom Egypt, Osama Yassin, said the organization is completely prepared to become an integrated 4G provider. Their board of directors chose a committee to oversee and confirm the company’s readiness for the deployment of 4G technology. We are still waiting for the final form of the license to be issued to finalize the preparations.
“It is better for TE to enter the Egyptian mobile communications sector with 4G frequencies. Being a fully integrated provider is what TE seeks,” Yassin said.
“We believe it would be better to direct the companies’ investments by providing them with new frequencies and improving 3G services and possibly launching 4G services,” El-Kady said. “We will launch 4G licenses before the end of next year. We will also build a similar infrastructure in the next dozen years, since TE built its 2,000 communications centres over a long period.”