Telecom Egypt (TE) believes 2019 will witness external expansion and attractive investment opportunities for the company. TE seeks to provide integrated telecommunications services to new cities, especially after the agreement with Banque Misr to provide mobile payment and money transfer services to the company’s customers.
Ahmed El-Beheiry, CEO of Telecom Egypt, said that launching the mobile network, WE, was the company’s main objective in 2017, along with attracting more technological investments in cables and data centres.
He added that this year witnessed the development of ADSL services, noting that the company will complete 50% of the development plan by the end of 2018, and 75% by the end of 2019.
El-Beheiry said that there are many investment opportunities outside Egypt, but the company will not move in this direction until a real investment opportunity emerges. He added that 2019 will be the year of foreign investment in mobile and large data centres, noting that the company is currently negotiating with a number of foreign investors in this sphere.
ADSL development requires massive financing as the company allocated 50% of its total EGP 7bn investments in 2018 for this purpose. The total spending on the ADSL development reached about EGP 6bn in two years, with plans to increase that figure further next year, pointed out TE’s CEO.
El-Beheiry said that WE’s Internet services have changed the shape of the Internet market in Egypt because of its multiple features. The company’s strategy for the Fibre To The Home (FTTH) focuses on new urban communities, as it is difficult to install fibre optics at old cities, he added.
According to the TE’s plan, the company aims to offer FTTH in association with the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) for all types of housing in new cities, including luxury, middle-income, and social housing.
El-Beheiry pointed out that the company’s entry in the mobile market contributed to the restructuring of the retail market for telecommunications services in Egypt. The company also sought to focus on making Egypt a digital corridor, which was done through the acquisition of MENA Cables.
Furthermore, he added that the company recovered the value of its investment in MENA Cables after six months, in addition to improving the reputation of TE in the marine cables market.
Notably, El-Beheiry pointed out that the company is working on a new plan to invest in submarine cable activity, which includes the provision of Internet services to Europe crossing the Red Sea to two stations, the first in France and the second in Italy under the name of Red to Europe.
The company is working to capitalise the site of Egypt to attract new investments in 2019, especially in the activities of Data Centre and outsourcing, noting that Data Centre projects rely heavily on secured marine cables, indicated the CEO.
In addition, he highlighted that in 2018 the company installed about 5,800 new fibre cabins, noting that the total number of cabins until 2017 was up to 12,000.
Regarding the 4G Internet services in Egypt, TE’s CEO said that about 40% of mobile users in Egypt are subscribers to mobile Internet services, but that a clear separate share of 4G services cannot be identified.
El-Beheiry remarked that the number of the company’s mobile service stations exceeds 1,000 so far, and that the company’s network bears about 18% of mobile data traffic.
During the first year, the company faced some problems in providing mobile services due to the imposition of an EGP 50 development fee on new lines, however the company attracted over 3.6 million users.
El-Beheiry added that TE has about EGP 6bn in dues from Vodafone Egypt’s retained profits as they have not distributed dividends for years.
Some changes will be made in the Vodafone Egypt’s board of directors, and the TE’s representatives in Vodafone will be replaced to ensure governance before the end of this year, he declared.
El-Beheiry asserted that TE was the fastest growing communications company in the market this year.
On the company’s participation in the Cairo ICT 2018, he said that the company’s strategy this year is to highlight the company as the first integrated telecom operator in Egypt, as well as to focus on Smart Cities, Data Centres, and communications infrastructure.