Why Vodafone had to play ball with Egypt’s Government

Although I was none-too-impressed by Vodafone’s behaviour in Egypt over the past few days, I would like to make it clear that I absolutely understand it.

Time for some admonishing from an anonymous reader who explains very clearly why Vodafone had no choice but to switch service off:

1: Licence. Vodafone has a licence, a Spectrum Licence. I’ve never seen it so this is just a guess but I’d imagine in that licence was a few bits about “national security” and allowing the government to turn it off and on in the event of an issue like this.. (you can bet your ass the UK licence has similar clauses!) If Vodafone did not comply, what would happen? It might lose the licence and the thousands of employees would lose their jobs.. Then the domino effect of all the other Vodafone Opco countries governments wondering why Vodafone didn’t comply with a legal order to shut down, then perhaps pulling their licence… This would be an end to Vodafone. 50K people out of a job, tens of billions in shares, rendered worthless overnight. Dramatic? Maybe? possible? Who knows!

2: Capacity. Vodafone provides the radio but doesn’t own fibre into or within Egypt. Who do you think they  buy it from? That’s right. The BT equivalent out there, owned by the Egyptian state.. So if we didn’t comply, they’d just kill our backhaul.. Which, let me tell you, would take MUCH longer to bring back up..

Agreed. You make excellent points. I do get this! I did end my article(s) agreeing that Vodafone had no choice. It’s just a shock, I think.

Still it looks like service should be back on in a few days either way, right?

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.

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