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Egyptian Network Launches 3G Coverage in Cairo

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The Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (Mobinil) has launched its 3G network following several delays, which the company partially put at the door of the telecoms regulator. The company had expected to receive access to the radio spectrum on 17th January, but the radio frequencies were not released until March 27th. The company had hoped to launch its network in July, but again missed its deadline.

According to a statement from the company, Mobinil's 3G coverage Cairo, Alexandria, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Dahab, Taba, Safaga, Marsa Alam, Luxor and Aswan, in addition to the industrial zones as well as petroleum fields and business districts. It is also planned that the 3G coverage will expand to cover wider areas to achieve comprehensive coverage for almost all regions.

The network also falls back onto EDGE services when out of 3G coverage.

Mobinil did not just add a 3G overlay to its exiting GSM network - but says that it built an entire new mobile network. The last few months have witnessed an incredible effort to increase the number of base stations installed hiking it to more than 6,500 base stations, out of which 700 3G base stations and more than 2,100 EDGE-enabled base stations to offer wider coverage for all populated areas in Egypt.

The company says that its network CAPEX reached some 3.3 Billion Egyptian Pounds in 2007 and that figure was increased to about 4 Billion Egyptian Pounds throughout 2008.

Nokia Siemens Networks, along with Huawei have developed the 3G portion of the 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.

Mobinil is listed on the Cairo stock exchange (29%) - and has two main shareholders, Orascom Telecom (33.1%) and France Telecom (36.3%). The company is the largest operator in the market, and according to figures from the Mobile World database, ended Q1 '08 with just over 15 million subscribers and a market share of 51.5%.

Mobinil recently reported that its first-quarter net profit grew 14% to 451 million Egyptian pounds ($84 million) from EGP397 million a year earlier. The company's revenue also surged 27% to EGP2.3 billion from EGP1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2007

On the web: Mobile World - Mobinil

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