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Vodafone ‘obliged’ to suspend service in Egypt

If you’re one of Vodafone’s 28 million customers in Egypt — and you’re resident in one of the hotspot areas of the country demonstrating dissatisfaction with the Government — chances are, you might not have mobile service.

That’s right.

Vodafone Egypt has been ‘obliged to comply’ with the Government order.

AP/Businessweek reports:

Telecoms company Vodafone says the Egyptian government has ordered all mobile telephone operators to suspend services “in selected areas” of the country.

In a statement, the company says that “under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it.”

I’m not at all impressed.

I rely on my Vodafone service here in the UK. I’d be flipping outraged if the company decided to deactivate it’s services because the UK Government was in a flap.

I can’t imagine what I’d be thinking if I was an Egyptian paying for a service that has been suspended because my Government wanted it so.

I think it’s bad form on Vodafone’s part. Hugely bad form.

However I suspect it’s not an easy situation though, given that the Government — with all those tanks and guns — is currently in the position to threaten Vodafone’s business interests in the country if it didn’t comply.

At what point, then, does a billion-dollar global company like Vodafone say, ‘screw you,’ and keep its services live? Probably until the Egyptian Army arrive, I suppose.

Whatever your viewpoint on Egypt, you can’t help wondering that a Government that arbitrarily removes basic communications facilities from swathes of its population isn’t quite healthy.

I also have to point out that I understand it’s very easy to have an opinion when you’re living in a sleepy town in Buckinghamshire and when the height of daily frustration is a cancelled train.

What’s your view — was Vodafone right to play along with the Egyptian Government?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

3 replies on “Vodafone ‘obliged’ to suspend service in Egypt”

It doesn’t really matter whether Vodaphone was “right” or not, they don’t have a choice, unfortunately. The question is not for Vodaphone, it is for the Egyptian government.

The question is for the Egyptian gov but I wonder if Voda et al will think it twice next time they get into bed, sorry, in business, with a similar gov. Now the choices are a) 28 million customers or b) ethics, democracy and other values. Well, I will take the 28 million customers thank you very much and will shut up next time I get shafted by the gov. They’ve done before, they will do it again, they’ve even done it here if you believe conspiracy theories. How about RIM v UAE etc? Have you forgotten that?

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