The Executive President's Word
“New policies should ensure competitive markets, encourage the provision of better and cheaper services and should be responsive to market changes; updated upon need.”
Dr. Amr Badawi, NTRA's Executive President.
This business-oriented outlook, that the country as a whole has adopted, is what we believe particularly discerns the activities of the NTRA in the coming period.
The task of launching the third mobile operator was attained with all the professionalism and efficiency needed, marking an unprecedented success for the sector. The procedures of the auction reflected the main principles advocated by the NTRA. They were mere crystallization for the principles of the Telecom Law; the NTRA has strived to underscore its commitment to deregulate the market and guarantee free competition. During the auction process, the Egyptian market was open before all companies without disrupting Egypt’s national security and sovereignty.
Transparency was another aspect highlighted in the Egyptian market. The NTRA presented a model of how to safeguard the interests of the citizens and the operators within framework of Egypt’s national state interests. It is our main objective to keep the three main pillars integrated yet not contradictory.
Through its life span, the NTRA managed to implement a number of important programs and policies that supported the deregulation process and the public private partnership. Figures speak for themselves in this regard; the mobile subscribers in 2008 stood at 32.2 millions whereas the number grew in 2010 to reach 56.49 millions. Internet users in 2008 was 11.3 and jumped to 17.06 in 2009. The remarkable growth of the telecom market has been going hand in hand with an extensive monitoring of the telecom services provided. Mobile companies upgraded their networks and technologies to provide 3G mobile services. The NTRA exerted massive efforts to review the contracts signed between companies and citizens to secure interests of both parties.
By the end of 2009 a new framework was announced for granting two licenses to install and operate telecommunication networks in closed compounds. Granting these licenses is based on a beauty contest scheme, where the evaluation committee - appointed by NTRA - will review the different Bids and rank them in a descending order according to their scores, and the highest and the next highest Bids will be selected as winning Bidders.
This license will entitle the licensee to install and operate telecommunication networks in closed compounds where the total number of the units in each Closed Compound is not more than ten thousand (10000) units and its total area is at least four (4) Feddans. Compounds having a number of units less than fifty (50) units are not required to build their networks using the services of the licensee. The licensee term is fifteen (15) years and shall abide by the telecommunication law No. 10 of year 2003 in all its provisions.
The licensee is expected to introduce the latest communications technology providing all modern services and intelligent services such as the Triple Play of voice, video and data and other services over optical fiber networks, as it is expected that total investment during the next five years will be up to a billion dollars.
It is worth mentioning that Egypt will be the first country to request the registration of Domain Names in the Arabic language “.Masr”. It is expected that this great prosperity will enhance the usage of Arabic websites and opens up new areas of investment in this concern.
Last but not least the NTRA is paying due attention to the deprived and under-serviced areas through the Universal Service fund that encourages the companies to invest in the economically non-feasible regions.
However, we still believe that our efforts are far from complete, and that the demand for a positively engaged regulator is still necessary to ensure the proper and complete introduction of competition within the telecommunications market, before it is possible for an essential period of phasing-out to ensue. This vision is based on our conviction that, ultimately, freely competitive markets grow faster and serve consumers better than government controlled ones.
In a highly dynamic sector where new technologies and robust investments are the only ways to ensure constant growth, it is no longer affordable to pay lip-service to liberalization. We fully understand that businesses need an environment which fosters competition, encourages new entrants and creates optimum opportunities for high returns on investments; an environment which the NTRA is henceforth cut out to create.
Dr. Amr Badawi
NTRA Executive President