Cairo on 9 September, 2019
The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has witnessed the signing of settlement agreements between the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) and mobile operators: Orange, Vodafone, and Etisalat. The aim is to resolve the disputes that lasted for ten years as a result of the appeal of some mobile operators before the judiciary. This is in addition to arbitrating NTRA resolutions, issued in 2009, regarding the rates of mobile calls exchanged between different networks, leading to different calculation methods of these prices, with financial disputes of values exceeding 2 billion EGP erupting.
Such disputes have had a negative impact on the stability and clarity of relations between operators in the Egyptian ICT sector, thus representing an obstacle for foreign investors when infusing new investments that can be harnessed to improve the quality of telecommunication services provided to citizens.
The agreements were signed by NTRA Acting Executive President Mustafa Abdel-Wahed, Orange Egypt CEO Yasser Shaker, Vodafone Egypt CEO Alexander Froman, and Etisalat Misr CEO Hazem Metwally.
Relevantly, the ICT Minister highlighted that such agreements reflect the efforts of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) to resolve all disputes between mobile operators and service regulators, to create an enabling environment for growing the business of local and international companies investing in Egypt’s ICT sector. Talaat added that the agreements will have a positive impact on the investment landscape in the sector, thus reflecting on the companies’ abilities to develop the services provided to citizens.
Associate Minister for Networks and ICT infrastructure Hossam El-Gamal, mandated by the ICT Minister, held intense meetings over the past months with the disputing parties to reach a compromise and resolve the disputes to satisfy all parties. The meetings resulted in an agreement between the parties to sign settlement agreements, as a result of which judicial disputes were ended.
For his part, Abdel-Wahed stated that the agreements come in the framework of implementing NTRA functions agreed upon in the Telecom Act (Law 10/2003). He added that rules have been established for future work on the rates of mobile calls exchanged between different networks, through an agreement between companies on these prices, with presenting these prices to NTRA to be approved. El-Gamal, Telecom Egypt CEO Adel Hamed, and a number of officials from MCIT, NTRA, and mobile operators attended the signing ceremony.