Egyptian telcos face consequences of revolution network blackouts

Egyptian telcos face consequences of revolution network blackouts

Egyptian telcos may be forced to face the consequences of shutting down their networks during protests at the beginning of this year.

The actions of operators Vodafone, Mobinil and Etisalat have been brought up during the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak which started last week. The Egyptian telcos said that the government forced them to shut down parts of their networks at the height of the protests. According to reports from the court in Cairo, a lawyer for the victims of the protests has requested the heads of Egyptian telco NTRA, Egyptian state TV and Nile News all appear before the court for questioning.

The three operators are now in talks with the new Egyptian government to discuss the laws regarding government interference in the country’s telecoms industry.

Vodafone has seen a knock to its subscriber growth between the final quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 - the period when the riots occurred. UK national media sources have reported that the UK based telco added 3.1 million in the final quarter of 2010, which then dropped to 561,000 in the subsequent following three months.

The rapid decrease in additions can be attributed to the disruptions caused by the protests, but the company’s reputation was further damaged at the beginning of June when a video was leaked onto the internet showing a Vodafone advert suggesting that it was responsible for the revolution’s success. The telco denies any connection with the video stating that the advertising agency JWT had created the video for internal use and that it had not been intended for public display.

To read Capacity’s Geofocus on the Egyptian market, including the protests, click here.