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Mobile broadband key to unlocking Egyptian growth - GSMA

By , IT in government editor
Egypt , 03 Oct 2014

Mobile broadband key to unlocking Egyptian growth - GSMA

Future economic growth for Egypt lies in increasing the country’s mobile broadband usage rates, says a GSMA report.

The North African nation, which has a population of more than 80 million, is Africa's third biggest economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $272 billion, according to the World Bank.

However, the global mobile phone industry body, the GSMA, has indicated that by taking action to increase mobile broadband, Egypt could unlock an additional $43 billion in GDP.

In addition, mobile broadband growth could help create an additional 1.2 million jobs across the economy by 2030, according to the GSMA.

The GSMA report titled "The Economic and Social Impact of Mobile Broadband in Egypt" says that the country can grow its mobile broadband penetration through long-term, pro-investment policies and a stable regulatory environment.

As the population becomes increasingly connected, the government would ordinarily expect to be able to see substantial benefits in economic growth, and social and cultural terms.

However, these benefits may not be realised unless government acts to enable the mobile broadband industry, reads the report.

Tom Phillips, chief regulatory officer of the GSMA said, “With the shift from traditional voice and SMS to mobile broadband, Egypt’s mobile operators are becoming increasingly constrained by limited domestic fibre optic network capacity. Equally, high speed international connections are essential if Egypt is to compete effectively at a global level.”

“These constraints, combined with a lack of radio spectrum to support the latest mobile broadband technology, are stifling economic growth. Policies that encourage investment in mobile broadband and enable additional spectrum to be allocated for mobile services are critical to transforming Egypt’s economic future,” Phillips added.

In the report, it was further noted that although the Egyptian telecoms industry has seen rapid growth over the past ten years, the country has one of the world’s lowest levels of spectrum assigned to mobile.

As of June 2014, Egypt had approximately 100 million mobile connections and 24 million mobile broadband connections, according to GSMA Intelligence.

And according to researchers BuddeComm, Egypt has the largest fixed-line market in Africa. However, the strongest growth can be found in mobile broadband services, say researchers.

In the meantime Egypt’s government has invited the mobile industry to convene a joint task force to address the current constraints and assess the demand and supply requirements to fast-track mobile broadband roll-out.

“Following successful discussions, it is now time for the government and industry to take concrete steps to foster innovation and growth through mobile,” said minister of communications and information technology of Egypt, H.E. Eng. Atef Helmy.

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