In Brief: Egypt to consider other bids after operators reject 4G terms 

Egypt may offer 4G mobile-phone licenses to international telecommunications companies, National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) head Mustafa Abdul Wahid said after the three local operators rejected the government’s terms. Abdul Wahid said the NTRA will present its board options for offering the new licenses on 10 October, confirming that all three local operators had rejected the licenses. The Telecommunications Minister Yasser El Qady said that the new licenses would be offered under terms different from those presented to domestic operators.

*** Twitter has attracted interest from Google and Salesforce, and could be sold before the end of the year. The company has received expressions of interest from multiple tech and media companies, and could soon receive a formal bid. Microsoft – which earlier this year acquired LinkedIn – and Verizon – which is busy building up its media and advertising assets – have also shown interest.Twitter is struggling to inject fresh momentum amid slowing growth in the number of users and revenue. The company ended June with 313 monthly active users, up by just 9 million on last year. It generated revenue of US$602 million (€535.7 million) in the second quarter, compared to $502.4 million a year ago.It appears that investors are now looking for the exit.

***A total of 80 companies have applied for MVNO licences from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Of this figure, 70 have expressed interest in procuring a licence at the district-level with a view to offering localised services, while a further ten have applied for national-level concessions.This month has seen the establishment of the Virtual Network Operators Association of India (VNOAI), a newly incorporated not-for-profit association which seeks to help would-be MVNOs address their challenges, in collaboration with regulatory authorities, network operators and other stakeholders. The VNOAI anticipates that the launch of virtual operators in India will create a USD4 billion business opportunity.

***South Africa’s telecoms regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has pushed back the date of its proposed auction of LTE-suitable spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz and 2600MHz bands to March 2017. The authority published a notice in the Government Gazette in which it said it was also giving interested parties until 4 November 2016 to submit their applications for participation in the process; the previous deadline was 3 October. The planned auction will now take place between 27 February and 10 March 2017, with the results to be published on 13 March 2017. ICASA has softened the 30% black ownership requirement, the minimum requirement now is ‘a level-four broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) rating. In July the ICASA issued an Invitation for Application (ITA) for the aforementioned spectrum in to all interested parties wishing to provide wireless broadband services. Under the terms and conditions, an applicant will qualify to bid on only one of the spectrum lots in the 700MHz, 800MHz and 2600MHz bands, which have a reserve price of ZAR3 billion (USD210 million) each.

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