Egypt mulls ways to develop mobile sector

CAIRO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Egypt's new government is studyingways to develop the mobile telecoms sector, including the ideaof issuing a licence for a fourth operator, though a decisionwill not be taken until the first quarter of 2013, the telecomsminister said on Tuesday.

As an alternative to a fourth licence, Hany Mahmoud said thegovernment could work to develop the sector with the existingoperators - Mobinil , Vodafone Egypt ,and Etisalat Misr, a unit of UAE operator Etisalat .

"We are studying the whole telecommunications market andwhat we exactly need. Is it a new player or distributing thingsinto the different players we have now? It's not clear yet andit will be finalised in the first quarter next year," Mahmoudtold Reuters on the sidelines of a business conference in Cairo.

Mahmoud is responsible for the telecoms portfolio in thefirst government appointed by President Mohamed Mursi, anIslamist elected earlier this year in Egypt's first democraticpresidential election.

(Reporting by Shaimaa Fayed; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing byHelen Massy-Beresford)