NTRA removes illegal telecom networks at areas in Giza and Beheira harming voice-service quality
 3 December 2022

The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Egypt (NTRA) removed unlicensed wireless networks from major areas in Giza and Beheira Governorates, in coordination with Telecom Police. These networks had a negative impact on the quality of voice services provided for users at the areas of Haram, Faisal and El-Lebeiny, as well as in Damanhur and Kafr Ad-Dawwar cities and the surrounding areas within a circle diameter of 7 Km. Post removal, service levels were consequently improved at such areas according to the measurements conducted by NTRA; as 694 Wi-Fi routers, 11 external antennas illegally connecting 5 telecom sites, and 27 unauthorized signal boosters were removed. Furthermore, NTRA detained in the city of Mansoura, in Daqahliya, a major importer of illegal signal boosters, where 118 unauthorized boosters and 300 antennas were confiscated.  In fact, this step comes in line with NTRA’s role to govern and regulate telecom market as well as improve the levels of service provided for users.

Number of complaints raised by users living in Giza and Beheira had been increasingly escalated to NTRA indicating service quality issues in both governorates. As per the field inspections conducted by NTRA’s technical teams, it was clear these users had been receiving telecom services from illegal networks not affiliated with any of the licensed operators in Egypt’s market whatsoever, and therefore, telecom services at such residential areas were entirely affected. After taking the necessary legal measures, members of Telecom Police escorted by inspectors and law enforcement officers in NTRA carried out a mission to remove unauthorized telecom networks. In the meanwhile, legal action was taken against violators.

As affirmed by NTRA, law enforcement campaigns are carried out within NTRA’s strategy to boost the level of services provided for users and make sure all telecom devices in Egypt’s market operate in conformity with the international standards. Such campaigns also aim to narrow down the use of unauthorized devices, eradicate harmful practices, and prevent law violations in Egypt’s telecom market which have a negative impact on the quality of telecom services provided for users. To this end, NTRA works to ensure that all rules and regulating procedures are abided by, to guarantee the rights of telecom users.

It’s worth noting that NTRA drew up a draft to amend Telecommunication Law No.10 of 2003, with the purpose to impose tough sanctions against using devices which are not authorized by NTRA. Value of fines is expected to reach EGP 5 million instead of EGP 50 thousand for using such devices, like illegal signal boosters which have a negative impact on voice service quality at residential areas within a circle-diameter ranging from 3-7 km. Such amendments were approved by the Senate and the Parliament.

NTRA also calls upon users of telecom services to make sure they are using the services provided by licensed telecom operators, since unlicensed networks do not actually abide by the quality standards acknowledged by NTRA. Furthermore, users of such networks do not have the right to receive a proper customer service or report any quality issue. Unlicensed networks are also illegal by virtue of law and have a harmful impact on service quality for wide distances at the residential areas where they are deployed.