CAIRO: Mobile phone service provider MobiNil announced on Thursday that the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) had officially notified the company that the introduction of the 2.75G, or EDGE, network would require a special license. The industry regulator regards EDGE as similar to 3G technology which requires obtaining a license before installation.
MobiNil, meanwhile, claims that the EDGE technology is merely an improvement on the GPRS networks and should not be classified as 3G technology, which means it does not have to apply for a license for implementing the updates. MobiNil also noted that the NTRA had earlier permitted the company to provide EDGE services to its subscribers.
As the crisis between both parties escalates, the international GSM Association (GSMA) sent an official notification to NTRA confirming that EDGE technology is an improvement to GPRS networks and does not require a license marked for introduction of a new technology.
“GSM operators in 150 networks worldwide provide the EDGE services to their subscribers in 88 countries, GSMA said in its notification to NTRA.
Alex Shalabi, the managing director of MobiNil, told NOOZZ that his company would file complaints to arbitrators and to the Egyptian courts should the NTRA insist on taking official moves to impose sanctions on MobiNil.
EDGE technology provides up to three times the data capacity of GPRS. Using EDGE, operators can handle three times more subscribers than GPRS, triple their data rate per subscriber, or add extra capacity to their voice communications. EDGE also allows the delivery of advanced mobile services such as the downloading of video and music clips, full multimedia messaging, high-speed color Internet access and e-mail on the move. The technology, however, is different from 3G technology in the frequency rate.
Amr Badawy, head of the NTRA, said his agency is prepared for the confrontation with MobiNil should it file a complaint with the court challenging NTRA’s decision.
“MobiNil has provided services to its subscribers that intersect with services of a 3G network without a prior license, he added.
He pointed out that mobile phone service providers in Egypt have obtained licenses from NTRA to provide GPRS services only.
MobiNil had earlier announced it would postpone an application for a 3G license to the next year after conducting a feasibility assessment of the service.