In Brief: Telecom Egypt pays EGP7bn for 4G licence 

Telecom Egypt (TE) this week became a fully-fledged mobile operator after agreeing to pay 7.08 billion Egyptian pounds (€713.14 million) for a 4G licence.The licence grants the fixed-line incumbent permission to use 2x5 MHz of 1800-MHz spectrum and 2x10 MHz of 700-MHz spectrum for the next 15 years. EGP5.2 billion of the licence fee is due up front with the remainder payable in instalments over the next four years. The licence is renewable for a further five years at a cost of EGP2 billion.Until recently, TE offered mobile services as a virtual player on Vodafone Egypt's network.

***As expected, the European Commission gave the go-ahead for 3 Italia and Wind's €21.8 billion merger, paving the way for the creation of Italy's biggest mobile operator and Iliad's arrival in the country.The combined entity will boast around 31 million mobile customers and 2.8 million fixed-line customers. Its joint 2015 revenue was €6.25 billion. The companies expect the deal to generate savings of €5 billion, which will help them to invest as much as €7 billion in infrastructure.

***South African operator Telkom has deployed what it claims is ‘South Africa’s first LTE three-downlink component carrier (3 CC DL) network’ in Fancourt (George), located in the Western Cape province. The operator will demonstrate the ‘4.5G’ technology – capable of delivering maximum download speeds of 260Mbps – at its annual Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference (Satnac), which will take place next week. The managing director of Telkom’s Openserve division and chairman of Satnac, said that the deployed network ‘is a commercially live, carrier-aggregated 3G and LTE network supporting newer generation commercially available devices.

***French telecoms group Orange has reportedly entered preliminary talks to acquire a stake in Iran’s largest cellular operator by subscribers, Mobile Communication Company of Iran (MCI).The Wall Street Journal cites ‘people familiar with the matter’ who say that Orange is discussing a commercial and technical agreement, as well as a share purchase. The French telco does have competition, however, as several other unnamed European firms are also thought to be interested in taking a stake in MCI.

* EC rubber-stamps Three/Wind merger in Italy *FCC auction grinds to a halt with just $23bn worth of bids
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