Egypt’s telecommunication sector is growing at about 25% annually. The Call Center industry is picking up and the number of call centers is increasing. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) is supporting this industry by subsidizing staff training and certification fees. Egypt is an attractive destination for the call center industry because of its upgraded telecommunication infrastructure, geographical location, talented labor, and most importantly MCIT’s support. Egypt ranked 12th on the A.T. Kearney’s 2005 Global Offshore Service index, and the London-based research company Datamonitor estimates Egypt’s call center industry growth at 50-60 percent annually. U.S. vendors of computer and telecommunications equipment and software will find a market niche in selling to the existing and the new call centers.
The telecommunication market enjoys an annual growth rate of 25%. It has been gradually deregulated as of the end of 2005. As of October 2007, there is one incumbent operator of fixed lines, Telecom Egypt (TE), with 11.2 million subscribers (a teledensity of 15.1%). A tender for a 2nd license for fixed lines will be released within weeks. The new operator is anticipated to start operation by 2009.
As of October 2007, mobile subscribers in Egypt's three providers Mobinil, Vodafone Egypt, and Eitisal reached 27.7 million, a density of 37.68%. The three GSM operators are offering between 2.5G and 3.5G services, such as WAP, GPRS, and SMS.
The number of Internet users rose from 1.6 million in 2002 to about 7.8 million in October 2007. ADSL subscribers have increased from 96,000 in January 2006 to more than 367,000 in January 2007.
Call centers are one of the fastest growing sub sectors of the telecom industry. Egypt is an attractive destination for calls centers, due to the following reasons:
• Availability of well-educated potential call center pool of agents with a westernized commercial outlook.
• Pool of candidates that see agent positions as a career path, as opposed to temporary jobs, which helps in reducing turnover.
• High caliber of agents at very competitive cost levels.
• Proficiency in accent-neutral western languages.
• Proximity to Europe.
• Modern and reliable Telecom and IT infrastructure.
• Annual growth rate of 7% and political stability.
• Strong government support for the industry.
According to Business Monthly magazine, since Egypt’s first call centers opened six years ago, the number of agent positions has grown exponentially. Today, there are some estimated 3,000 agents or more that manage both domestic and international accounts, and industry insiders expect that number to triple by 2009.
Egypt has a high-quality telecommunications infrastructure, which is among the most advanced in the developing world thanks to a new or recently upgraded network. It also has an educated workforce able to provide accent-neutral services in multiple languages, a large number of fresh graduates and the management skills to handle international contracts. India offers English services, countries in North Africa like Morocco and Tunisia offer services in French, but Egypt can offer services in several languages, such as English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Greek. This is advantage to companies offering customer support in different countries or languages to outsource their offshore services to one destination that can offer them the full package, rather than dividing the service or contract between several off-shore locations.
The American management consultant firm A.T. Kearney has published an annual index that ranks the world’s top 40 most attractive destinations for off shoring service activities. The report factors in cost, people skills and availability, and business environment. Egypt entered the list for the first time in 2005 at 12th place. A.T. Kearney’s 2007 Global Services Location Index covering 2006, ranks Egypt at 13th place.
The London-based research company Datamonitor estimates that Egypt’s call center industry is growing at 50-60 percent per year.