Egypt plans to offer high-speed 4G telecoms licences to companies already operating in the country within two weeks, Telecom Minister Yasser al-Qadi said on local television channel CBC.
The country had been planning to roll out the high-speed 4G services in the first quarter of this year. The move could allow Egypt's fixed-line monopoly Telecom Egypt to enter the mobile phone services market.
"There was a meeting at the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority based on the cabinet's decision to allow for the issuance of 4G licences to the companies operating in the market," al-Qadi said.
"Yesterday we decided we will be begin the offering. We will begin today by sending letters to all the companies so that we can know the importance of the 4G for them, and within 2 weeks the licensing process will be completed," he added.
Egypt has not disclosed how much it will charge for licences and it is not clear when 4G services will be available.
In addition to Telecom Egypt, the country's landline monopoly, Egypt has three mobile phone operators, Vodafone Egypt, Orange (formerly Mobinil) and Etisalat.
A representative from Vodafone said on Tuesday morning that they had not yet received notification from the ministry.
By Eric Knecht and Asma Alsharif; Editing by Keith Weir
Reuters content reproduced with permission