Displaying items by tag: Egypt

Etisalat Egypt partners with Ericsson to evolve its network

Written on Sunday, 15 October 2017 13:31

Etisalat Misr (Etisalat Egypt) has signed a four-year contract with Ericsson to modernize and expand its core network and business support systems, which will help the operator to capitalize on the growth in 4G and pave the way for 5G and Internet of Things. The partnership will play an important role in further developing the services offered by Etisalat Misr, one of Ericsson’s largest customers for business support systems.

“We are pleased to be working with Ericsson again on a new project that addresses the evolving requirements of our organization,” said Hazem Metwally, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Misr. “It will double the capacity of our business support systems, which will allow us to provide more innovation to our customers, resulting in more traffic passing through our network. Ericsson is our trusted partner and has provided valuable support since we launched our services.”

The project will be a significant milestone for Etisalat Misr, allowing shorter time to market, commercial innovation, and improved user experience. It will also have a positive impact on capital and operational expenditure. Subscribers will be able to enjoy highly flexible and personalized offerings, including cross-bundling and add-on services. They will also have access to shared data plans and family offerings, which will provide them with a single bill and a consolidated spending view.

Furthermore, 4G technology will enable efficient means of communication and opportunities for global collaboration and innovation. For example, the project will accelerate the introduction of IMS Voice over LTE, Voice over WiFi, Service Aware Policy Control and Unified Communications.

Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Region Middle East and Africa, said, “This agreement will enable Etisalat Misr to respond very quickly and in a flexible way with new offers to the ever increasing needs of their subscribers. The current massive diversity of applications, services and bundles, that both consumers and business customers wish to use on their multiple devices, requires more flexible provisioning and real-time charging based on advanced systems and solutions, such as our state-of-the-art Business Support System.”

Published in Telecom Operators

Egypt’s Minister for ICT says 4G will launch this month

Written on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 08:10

Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, H.E. Eng. Yasser El Kady, told Reuters on Sept. 11, that Egypt will launch commercial 4G services by the end of September. The Minister also said the government will release additional frequencies to operators in the future without committing to a timeline.

Minister El Kady said in May this year that Egypt was “ready to hand over 4G mobile frequencies to any company that is ready.” At that time, the Minister said in an interview with Reuters that the government was “waiting for companies to finish preparations to receive the frequencies.”

The launch of commercial services will draw a line under a messy 4G auction process in Egypt. The first operators to sign deals with Egypt's regulator to acquire 4G licenses in October 2016 were Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat and Orange Egypt. Meanwhile, the nation's state-owned Telecom Egypt also plans to launch 4G within a year of receiving its frequency license.

Obtaining the licenses wasn't a straight forward process for the operators, with Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat and Orange Egypt at first rejecting the terms of the auction because they felt there wasn't enough sufficient spectrum on offer. The telcos also disputed conditions which required 50 percent of the total license cost to be paid in US dollars.

The spectrum sales were delayed due to the telecom operators refusing to participate until the issue was sorted out. Orange Egypt, for example, came to an agreement with Egypt's regulator to pay half the license fee in US dollars.

Introducing 4G to Egypt has been part of the government's long-term plan to reform the telecom industry and raise more money for the state. After the spectrum auction, Minister El Kady said $1.1 billion had been raised, and an additional $1.13 billion for the state budget.

Published in Government

French telecom giant Orange hosted the Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technology, HE Eng. Yasser ElKady, at its facilities in Paris, France, from July 17-18. Orange hosted the Minister to reinforce its presence in Egypt – a presence of “utmost importance” for Orange’s future development in Africa and the Middle East.

The Minister was welcomed by the Egyptian Ambassador in Paris, Ehab Badawi and by Jean-Marc Harion, CEO of Orange Egypt. He also met with several members of the Group’s Executive Committee including Bruno Mettling (Orange Group Deputy CEO; Chairman and CEO of Orange Middle East & Africa), and Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière (Orange Group Senior Executive Vice-President of Innovation, Marketing and Technologies).

“We are honored to host his Excellency Engineer Yasser Al-Kady at the Orange Group’s headquarters in Paris. The Group’s presence in Egypt is of utmost importance to our future development in Africa and the Middle East, and we have great confidence in the potential for development within the Egyptian economy,” said Mr. Mettling.

“This visit also reflects the Orange Group’s willingness to work with the Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in order to strengthen cooperation between our two countries in a context that encourages foreign investment.”

The Minister visited Orange’s flagship smart store in central Paris and the Group’s innovation campus, Orange Gardens. The emblematic smart store was opened in November 2016 and showcases the Group's approach to customer experience, which is a key element of its strategy.

He also visited the Group’s new innovation campus in Chatillon, Orange Gardens, which was inaugurated in June 2016 by the former French President François Hollande. The 72,000m² eco-friendly site brings together more than 3,000 employees across all areas of research and innovation.

The campus was conceived to foster new ways of working to increase Orange’s innovation capabilities and better interact with the Group’s other innovation centers across the globe. During the visit, the Minister was able to witness first-hand the latest advances made by Orange as it prepares for the future launch of 5G networks.

The Minister also attended meetings organized with senior managers on topics such as opportunities for telecom operators in the fields of mobile money, energy or m-agriculture.  Exchanges were also held on the Group’s efforts to support start-ups, notably through Orange Digital Ventures, as well on topics related to the B2B market including smart cities and cyber-defense.

As a result of the meetings, Orange is contemplating leveraging the opportunities offered by new technology zones, including in Assyut, to install customer service centers. Also, as part of the Orange Group's interest in supporting emerging, innovative companies, it was agreed to support and fund technology-focused start-ups in Egypt to help them to transform their ideas into reality while creating a sustainable business model.

Published in Government

UAE ride-hailing services company Careem has invested $500,000 in a start-up entity which focuses on connecting commuters with private buses in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo. Careem, which is seen as Middle East rival to global ride-hailing colossus Uber, acquired the minority stake in SWVL after weeks of negotiations. It has also been disclosed that in addition to the investment, CEO and co-founder of Careem, Magnus Olsson will also join the board of SWVL.

SWVL is only three-months old, but has already generated the interest of prospective investors after making an immediate impact in the transportation sector in Egypt. Careem, which operates in 12 countries, mainly in the Middle East will look to accelerate SWVL operations, although it declined to disclose the exact size of its minority stake in the organization.

SWVL was founded by a former Careem executive in April, and the company provides a bus transportation service which enables passengers to reserve and pay their fare through SWVL’s mobile application. The application formulates and maps the shortest journey time home based on the passenger’s location and destination by identifying the nearest bus station that travels along fixed routes.

Careem CEO expressed his desire to see the Egyptian start-up develop quickly, and he believes the best way of enabling that is by keeping the entity independent. Olsson said, “We want them to run and learn and develop at a very high pace and high agility and we believe the best way for them to do that is to stay independent.”

Careem announced last month that it had raised $500m from investors such as German car manufacturer Daimler and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding. It said the investment would help them accelerate their expansion plans. SWVL is unlike Careem and Uber in the sense that it isn’t an on-demand service, but it has a strong foundation of over 50,000 passenger and 200 buses using the mobile application.

Chief executive of SWVL, Mostafa Kondil said its primary objective is to really improve the product and disclosed that it is targeting 300,000 monthly trips by the end of 2017. Analysts have suggested that SWVL will utilize the investment made by Careem in order to increase its workforce, develop new app features and expand into other cities beyond Cairo, and to Middle Eastern and Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Pakistan next year.

Published in Apps

Egypt’s digital development strategy takes shape

Written on Thursday, 25 May 2017 08:05

In September 1999 a national project for a technological renaissance was announced in Egypt reflecting the commitment of the government to developing the country's IT sector. That commitment is reflected today by the introduction of 4G services, the nation’s pledge to improve ICT education, and its vision for a more digital and sustainable future.

With over 92 million inhabitants, Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa and the Arab world which represents its influence and strategic importance in the region. Despite its influence, Egypt has fallen behind its Arab neighbors in the Gulf in terms of IT and telecommunications due to political instability. But Egypt is now experiencing steadiness after a new constitution was voted and President Sisi took office.

The new Cabinet, appointed in June 2014, has committed to boosting Egypt’s economic growth and attracts investments. The Cabinet formulated its efforts into a long-term vision and developed a sustainable development strategy for the country until the year 2030. Egypt’s ‘Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS): Egypt 2030’ aims at creating a “modern, open, democratic, productive, and happy society.”

The plan aims to make Egypt’s economy an “active player in the world, capable of adjusting to international developments and well positioned to join the ranks of the world’s medium-income countries.” The Egyptian Government has committed to creating an “innovative and knowledge-based society” needed to support its growth and secure human welfare. This is achieved through a national system, a high quality institutional and legal infrastructure for scientific research, technology and innovation.

Egypt has improved in its scores in the penetration of broadband and corresponding affordability, both fixed and mobile, according to Huawei’s 2017 Global Connectivity Index (GCI). The nation is “is one of the most developed internet markets in Africa in terms of the number of users and the availability of services,” says the report.

Egypt also has “considerable domestic fiber infrastructure” the report adds, which is able to tap into cables at several points. 4G services have been launched by mobile operators in Egypt and are believed to serve as a catalyst for economic growth and deliver broad social benefits. However, according to GCI indicators, Egypt is only at its first stage of ICT development, which is broadband, and “has not achieved impressive progression in other technical enablers.”

UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia remain top ‘adopter’ economies in terms of connectivity within the Arab world, according to the index. The report measures the relationship between ICT investment and GDP growth. Of the 50 countries that were analyzed, 16 are considered Frontrunners, 21 are Adopters, while the remaining 13 are Starters. These clusters reflect the nations’ progress in digital transformation. Egypt is categorized in the Starters group.

With broadband performance still behind world average, the report advises Egypt to further focus on establishing better connections, wider coverage and faster speed, meanwhile, retaining the affordability of services. With banking taking first steps to digitalize, it is beneficial that other sectors get their digital transformations to take shape, says the report. This is driven by the “increasingly complex demands by Egyptian customers on business services and higher standards for the services they wish to have.”

His Excellency Eng. Yasser El Kady, Egypt’s Minister for Communications and Information Technology, recently announced that new 4G frequencies are ready to be used in the country. Following delays, the 4G spectrum will soon be available for use, he said. The Egyptian Government has completed preparations for the transfer of 4G frequencies to operators, according to the Minister, after selling four licenses in a 2016 auction.

“We are now ready to hand over 4G mobile frequencies to any company that is ready,” said the Minister in an interview with Reuters in May this year. “We are waiting for companies to finish preparations to receive the frequencies.”

Egypt's telecom regulator, the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) of Egypt, approved revised terms for 4G mobile broadband network licenses in 2014. The government said last year that it hoped to raise 22.3 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.5 billion) in total in license fees.

The first operators to sign deals with Egypt’s regulator to acquire 4G licenses in October 2016, were Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat and Orange Egypt. Meanwhile, the nation’s state-owned Telecom Egypt also plans to launch 4G within a year of receiving its frequency license.

Obtaining the licenses wasn’t a straight forward process for the telecom operators, with Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat and Orange Egypt at first rejecting the terms of the auction because they felt there wasn’t sufficient spectrum on offer. The companies also disputed conditions which required 50 percent of the total license cost to be paid in US dollars.

The spectrum sales were delayed due to the three companies refusing to participate in the auction until the issue was sorted out. Orange Egypt, for example, came to an agreement with Egypt’s regulator to pay half the license fee in US dollars. The regulator, keen to prioritize existing carriers, agreed to revise the terms.

Introducing 4G to Egypt has been part of the government’s long-term plan to reform the telecom industry and raise more money for the state. After the spectrum auction, Minister El Kady said $1.1 billion had been raised, and an additional $1.13 billion for the state budget.

At the December 2016 Telecom Review Summit in Dubai, Minister El Kady explained that in Egypt, and in other nations in the region, governments are executing development plans, noting Egypt’s Vision 2030 initiative. The main pillars of Egypt’s strategy include social justice, knowledge and innovation and economic development.

“ICTs are at the core of this vision and over 30 projects have been implemented,” he said.

The Minister shared the recent deployment of national telecom and IT infrastructure projects, emphasizing improved services offered to the citizens of Egypt. He also commented on the successful awarding of the 4G licenses to Egypt’s four operators, allowing them to offer numerous new services for their subscribers.

Also part of Egypt’s Vision 2030 initiative is increasing ICT education. Egypt’s Education and Technical Education Ministry and the Ministry of Information Technology (MCIT) have both committed to work together to strengthen IT education to improve the country’s global standing in terms of its education system.

The World Economic Forum’s latest competitiveness report, released in 2015, placed Egypt’s education system at 139th place out of 140. The low score is said to have influenced the nation into stepping up and improving its education system.

Minister El Kady recently met with the Minister of Education and Technical Education, Tarek Shawaki, to confirm a plan to establish a closer working relationship. It was reported that the Ministers will form a joint committee to prepare a long-term cooperation strategy that will improve education processes in Egypt and lead to better social and economic outcomes for the country.  

Technology is capable of developing all elements of the education system in the country, claims Minister El Kady. He emphasized the importance of spreading a culture of “smart learning” and participating in the technological development of the education system in Egypt in order for it to achieve the desired goals laid out by the Vision 2030 initiative.

Minister Shawki stressed that keeping up with technological developments to improve the educational process is within the framework of Egypt's Vision 2030 Sustainable Development Strategy. Both Shawki and El Kady have discussed the technological transformation in the various stages of education, especially with modern technology and high-speed internet access to schools.

Published in Featured

His Excellency Eng. Yasser El Kady, Egypt’s ICT Minister, has announced that 4G frequencies are ready to be used in the country. Following delays, 4G services will soon be deployed. The Egyptian Government has completed preparations for the transfer of 4G frequencies to operators, according to the Minister, after selling four licenses in a 2016 auction.

“We are now ready to hand over 4G mobile frequencies to any company that is ready. We are waiting for companies to finish preparations to receive the frequencies,” said El Kady speaking to Reuters news agency.

The first operators to sign deals with Egypt’s regulator to acquire 4G licenses in October 2016 were Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat and Orange Egypt. Meanwhile, the nation’s state-owned Telecom Egypt also plans to launch 4G within a year of receiving its frequency license.

Obtaining the licenses wasn’t a straight forward process for the operators, with Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat and Orange Egypt at first rejecting the terms of the auction because they felt there wasn’t enough sufficient spectrum on offer. The telcos also disputed conditions which required 50 percent of the total license cost to be paid in US dollars.

The spectrum sales were delayed due to the telecom operators refusing to participate until the issue was sorted out. Orange Egypt, for example, came to an agreement with Egypt’s regulator to pay half the license fee in US dollars.

Introducing 4G to Egypt has been part of the government’s long-term plan to reform the telecom industry and raise more money for the state. After the spectrum auction, Minister El Kady said $1.1 billion had been raised, and an additional $1.13 billion for the state budget.

At the Telecom Review Summit in 2016, Minister El Kady explained that in Egypt, and in other nations in the region, governments are executing sustainable development plans, noting that Egypt’s sustainable development strategy bears the title “Egypt Vision 2030”. The main pillars of the Strategy include social justice, knowledge and innovation and economic development. “ICTs are at the core of this Vision and over 30 projects have been implemented,” he said.

The Minister shared the recent deployment of national telecom and IT infrastructure projects, emphasizing improved services offered to the citizens. He also commented on the successful awarding of the 4G licenses to Egypt’s four operators, allowing them to offer numerous new services for their subscribers.

Published in Government

Egypt’s Minister for Communications and Information Technology, His Excellency Eng. Yasser El Kady, was an esteemed guest of the Telecom Review Summit 2016. Eng. El Kady received the Award for ‘Telecom Leader of the Year for Government and Non-Profit Organizations’ for his expertise in serving the industry for over 25 years, enabling him to gain solid experience in technology transformation strategies and planning for Egypt and the Region.

Throughout his career, he worked on implementing several development initiatives to support entrepreneurship, talent development and export of IT products and services. Minister El Kady gave an inspiring keynote speech at the Summit, in which he started by examining how Egypt and the UAE can share progressive plans for sustainable development.

During his keynote speech, Eng. El Kady explained that in Egypt, and in other regions, governments are now executing sustainable development plans, noting that Egypt’s sustainable development strategy bears the title “Egypt Vision 2030”. The main pillars of the Strategy include social justice, knowledge and innovation and economic development. “ICTs are at the core of this Vision and over 30 projects have been implemented”.

Minister El Kady highlighted the importance of political support and backing to effectively execute aggressive and innovative transformational plans, stating that the leadership of the nation extends full support for the ICT sector.

The Minister shared the recent deployment of national telecom and IT infrastructure projects, emphasizing improved services offered to the citizens, he also referred to the successful awarding of the 4G licenses to Egypt’s four operators, allowing them to offer numerous new services for their subscribers.

Minister El Kady also shared at the Summit his vision for smart communities in Egypt, highlighting an official mandate that all new cities should be smart; the first being the New Capital. The Minister also emphasized Egypt’s successful experience in developing technology zones (due to develop seven) each embracing an innovation and entrepreneurship center to work on new technologies, generate intellectual property and address local as well as global challenges.

Eng. El Kady asserts that Egypt is considered a very lucrative market for business, and remains confident about his sector, “we are growing positively this year, from one digit to double digits– 10.5%; the sector is contributing by 3.2% to the GDP and we expect this contribution to continue to grow,” the Minister said. .

Minister El Kady asserted that the Egyptian government has recently taken important steps for economic reform, “as a consequence foreign investment in the ICT sector started to flow. Electronic manufacturing stands on top of our agenda; currently four international manufacturing entities have decided to invest in Egypt by establishing facilities in the new technology zones of Assiyut (south of Egypt) and Borg El Arab (north of Egypt), they are due to start production Q1 2017.” He added: “We have aggressive plans to export out of Egypt to meet regional and global demand.”

Published in Interviews

Mobinil becomes Orange in Egypt

Written on Tuesday, 15 March 2016 08:08

Orange announced the launch of the Orange brand in Egypt; the Orange brand has replaced the Mobinil brand. Egypt is the latest subsidiary of the Orange Group to adopt the Orange brand and is the Group's largest operation in terms of customer numbers (33.4 million customers at the end of December 2015) and contributes over 27% of its revenues for the Middle East and Africa region.

Published in Telecom Operators