Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
12 April 2023
Celebrating Silver Jubilee, NTRA Issues Postage Stamp, Offers Free Gifts

The National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) is celebrating its silver jubilee in April, marking the 25th anniversary of its establishment. It has issued a postage stamp and a code that allows users to receive free gifts from service providers, for 48 hours.

NTRA was founded in 1998 as the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) to manage and regulate telecom services. In 2003, with the entry of many mobile network operators (MNOs) and fixed Internet providers in the Egyptian market, TRA name, under Telecommunication Law No.10 of 2003, changed to NTRA. The Authority governs and regulates the telecom market, grants permits and licenses to MNOs and service providers, and monitors the market to ensure fair competition, maintain service quality, and protect users’ rights.

It is worth mentioning that NTRA received the ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems (QMS) certification for regulating telecom services in Egypt, after passing the assessments conducted by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ), one of the world’s top accreditation bodies. The milestone marked the culmination of the Authority’s efforts in meeting international standards in organizational approaches to governing telecom services offered by licensed operators in the Egyptian market.

Over 25 years, NTRA introduced four generations of mobile phone networks and worked to maximize state revenues by attracting major international companies to invest in the Egyptian telecom market. The Authority granted 86 licenses to national and international companies specializing in wireless communications, satellite communications, Internet, data transmission, fixed telephone, and infrastructure leasing services. NTRA also approved 34,000 types of telecommunication devices, including mobile phones, routers, and many more.

In facilitating access to telecom services, NTRA has had an effective role. It provided network coverage through several projects at EGP 3 billion, borne by its Universal Service Fund (USF), which funds national ICT and infrastructure projects necessary for providing basic telecom services. The projects helped improve network coverage in 55 main roads and 75 marginalized and remote areas, allowing better access to mobile phone services. Coverage was also provided in 622 rural villages included in the first phase of "Decent Life,” the national project for developing the Egyptian countryside.

Moreover, NTRA has adopted a strategy and taken measures to protect users’ rights and freedom in choosing service providers. It also created a list of the rights users are entitled to as they receive services, with subscription, consumption, and payment, helping raise users’ awareness of their rights.

The strategy is implemented based on three main pillars; the first is enhancing communication with users and providing more channels for users to submit complaints. NTRA Complaints Center receives complaints against service providers for unresolved issues. The Complaints Center was developed and had its capacity increased. In addition, NTRA introduced more channels for receiving complaints, including Hotline 155, NTRA complaints e-portal, My NTRA Application, WhatsApp, and social media.

The second pillar is granting users the freedom to subscribe or unsubscribe to services. For this, NTRA launched the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service with new regulations. The service enables users to retain their phone numbers when changing from one mobile network to another. The aim is to facilitate the transfer process and reduce the time needed to switch between mobile networks, as the process is completed in a maximum of 24 hours.

Furthermore, NTRA introduced new regulations on switching Internet service providers, with the process completed within 72 hours without the user incurring additional costs. A toll-free short code (*155#) was also made available to help users inquire about or cancel subscription to Value-Added Services (VASs). These include entertainment services offered by MNOs for daily or monthly subscription, such as promotional contests, news and sports services, digital games, and others.

Pillar number three is including all segments of society and facilitating their access to services. NTRA launched initiatives to support persons with disabilities (PwDs) as they receive services. Initiatives include dedicating a call center for receiving and resolving PwDs complaints via video calls, providing lines with 50% off on monthly plans, covering minutes and megabytes; and instructing all MNOs to make their stores accessible and disability friendly.

NTRA also took measures to better serve seniors. It enabled free-of-charge contracting of fixed broadband and landline services from home for people over 60. Seniors can also contact customer service, for free, through the special code *1234#.

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