New legislation is being drafted to loosen control of Egypt's telecommunications sector as the market anticipates a forthcoming offering of a 20-percent stake in the national fixed-line telephone monopoly.
Minister of communications and information technology, Ahmed Nazif, said the draft law would be submitted to the cabinet by mid-September so that the parliament could discuss it when it reconvenes in November.
The new legislation will aim to end state control over the telecommunication sector and allow the private sector to provide phone and other telecom services, reported Al Alam Al Youm.
The draft law will allow companies the freedom to set their own prices in an open, competitive commercial environment. At the same time, however, it stipulates that Telecom Egypt will maintain its control over fixed-line telephone and international call services, while the state keeps the right to regulate the prices of certain basic services.
After months of speculation, minister of Information, Safwat Al-Sherif, first announced the government's plan to privatize Egypt Telecom on 9 May, saying that a 20-percent stake of the state-owned telephone monopoly would be put on sale between September and December.
On the same occasion, Sherif stated that the ministry of communications and information technology intends to offer a third mobile phone license, although he did not disclose the opening date of the international tender.
Prime minster Atef Ebeid stated that details of a forthcoming Telecom Egypt IPO (Initial Public Offering) would be announced on the second week of September, the Al Alam Al Youm reported.
Telecom Egypt chairman, Akil Beshir, said the size of the stake as well as the initial price of the shares are yet to be finalized. The IPO is expected to take place in November, according to the Egypt Watch Bulletin. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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