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Egypt’s mobile subscriptions fall 417,000 in May

The introduction of a new registry system might have deterred some customers from signing up or extending their contracts.

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July 22, 2010 2:29 by



The number of mobile phone subscriptions in Egypt fell for the first time in seven months in May, a state website said, after the start of a new registration system and the delay of a numbering plan.

Mobinil said in April delays in a plan to add an extra digit to all mobile numbers in Egypt had kept the regulator from providing it new dials, the individual phone numbers operators give to subscribers.

This may have slowed the company’s subscription growth and helped fuel a dip in the total number of subscribers in Egypt, which fell by 417,000 to 58.3 million, Beltone analyst Sally Gerges said.”

One of the major drivers, Mobinil, was not able to add as many subscribers as they could have because of this problem,” she said.She said the problem appeared to have hurt Mobinil more than its two rivals, a unit of global operator Vodafone and a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat, as the firm’s previous strong growth meant it was running short of dials.

Analysts said the introduction of a new registry system, which started requiring subscribers to attach personal information to their accounts in May, might have deterred some customers from signing up or extending their contracts. In April, Mobinil said 3 percent of its 26 million clients had yet to meet the new rules.

A year ago Egypt’s three mobile operators had 43.5 million subscribers. Growth in subscriptions has slowed after jumping 1.7 million in December. Subscriptions last fell in October.

The head of the telecoms regulator told Reuters last week that Egypt was looking into options for a fourth mobile licence, including a virtual network.

State-owned landline monopoly Telecom Egypt has expressed an interest in any new license.



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