NTRA, Orange, Vodafone and Etisalat reach deal to end interconnection disputes
(Ecofin Agency) - Egypt's National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) and mobile operators Orange Egypt, Vodafone Egypt, and Etisalat Misr signed a settlement agreement on 9 September 2019. The agreement was inked by Mustafa Abdel Wahed (pictured), NTRA Executive Chairman, Yasser Shaker, CEO of Orange Egypt, Alexander Froman, CEO of Vodafone Egypt and Hazem Metwally, CEO of Etisalat Misr.
They want to settle the legal battles between telecom operators over interconnection tariffs that have persisted for the past ten years. The latest battle, between Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Misr, which began in 2016 before the Cairo Regional Arbitration Centre for International Trade, ended last January with Vodafone Egypt being ordered to pay compensation of EGP750 million ($41,751,179) to the subsidiary of the Emirati telecoms group for violating the regulator's decision, fixing the financial compensation payable by each party to the other for any service unit rendered.
According to Amr Talaat, the Egyptian Minister of Communication and Information Technology, “these disputes have had a negative impact on the stability and clarity of relations between ICT operators, thus constituting an obstacle for foreign investors when they inject new investments that can be used to improve the quality of telecommunications services provided to citizens.”
The agreement has the power to create an enabling environment for the development of the activities of local and international companies investing in the ICT sector in Egypt. Mustafa Abdel Wahed revealed that rules have been established for future works on mobile call tariffs exchanged between different networks, through a tariff agreement between companies, which should then be approved by the telecoms regulator.