Posted by: nuweiba | September 5, 2008

Mobinil launches 3 G in Sharm, Dahab and Taba

At the beginning of this month Egypt’s leading mobile operator Mobinil launched 3G services, covering large cities, tourist, industrial and corporate centres in Cairo, Alexandria, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Dahab, Taba, Safaga, Marsa Alam, Luxor and Aswan. Mobinil

Mobinil has been hard at work revamping its network in preparartion for the launch 3G earlier this month

Since agreeing to purchase the 3G licence, Mobinil has since increased the number of installed base stations to more than 6,500, out of which 700 3G base stations and more than 2,100 EDGE-enabled base stations are in place.

Nokia Siemens Networks, along with Huawei has developed Mobinil’s 3G network, while Alcatel-Lucent and Motorola cooperated with Mobinil to establish the 2G portion of the network. This is in addition to the cooperation with Cisco Systems and Ericsson to develop and enhance the network infrastructure.

In April this year Mobinil did say it would delay the introduction of 3G services and payment of an EGP750 million (US$138 million) instalment on the licence fee by about two and a half months. At the time, the operator said the delay was necessitated because the regulatory authorities were late in handing over the frequency band needed for Mobinil to conduct the necessary tests before commercial service began.

Mobinil had been meant to receive the frequency band on January 17 but the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) did not say it was available until March 27, according to Mobinil.
Mobinil is the last of Egypt’s three mobile operators to launch 3G services, having initially refused to pay the licence fee asked by the NTRA.

“The licence condition set the value of a 3G licence (for the incumbents Mobinil and Vodafone Egypt) at 20 per cent of the price of the 2G/3G licence awarded to the third operator,” explained Alex Shalaby, CEO of Mobinil at the beginning of last year. “We thought this was high and elected not to bid for 3G at this time.” Etisalat bid US$2.9 billion to win Egypt’s third mobile licence, valuing the amount required to be paid by the incumbents for 3G licences at US$580 million each.

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