The Telecommunication industry in Egypt began in 1854, when the first telegraph line connecting Cairo and Alexandria was inaugurated. In 1881, the first telephone line was installed between Cairo and Alexandria. Until 1996, the Arab Republic of Egypt National Telecommunications Organization (ARENTO) was the sole provider of all public telecommunications services in Egypt, and after was renamed Telecom Egypt.
In 1998, the Telecom Law 19/1998 made Telecom Egypt a joint stock company 100 percent owned by the Government of Egypt. Operations and regulation were separated as the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority was established to undertake the regulatory functions and Telecom Egypt was established as an independent operator.
The Government of Egypt established the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in 1999 to lead Egyptís transition into an Information Society.
The development of Egyptís telecommunications sector has been the product of a close partnership between multiple stakeholders, with MCIT acting as the facilitator of this process. Partnerships of public, private, non-profit, civil society and multilateral stakeholders have fostered the development of new models of leadership and collaboration in the sector. Private sector involvement is of strategic importance in this area not only to provide technological expertise and innovation but also to take the lead in devising market-based solutions and investing in infrastructure and ICT initiatives.
The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) was further empowered by the Telecommunication Act No. 10 in 2003. NTRA acts as the independent regulatory authority overseeing the telecommunications sector in Egypt, improving its services and expanding its usage.