Traders protest price increases of prepaid phone cards

Traders protest price increases of prepaid phone cards

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Tue, 22/01/2013 - 14:34
A large number of owners of telephone call centers staged a demonstration in front of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, in protest against mobile operators in Egypt after increases in the prices of prepaid cards.
 
The protesters said the companies had refused to pump additional quantities of cards to their centers in advance of the price hikes.
 
"Mobinil is void, Vodafone is void, Etisalat is void," the protesters chanted against Egypt's three mobile phone operators.

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Atef Helmy said Vodafone is currently reexamining the recently raised prices of its prepaid mobile phone cards.

“Egypt’s two other mobile operators, MobiNil and Etisalat, have not raised the prices of their prepaid cards,” he said.

The minister met with the chief executives of Egypt’s three mobile phone operators on Tuesday, along with Amr Badawy, the executive president of the National Telecom Regulatory Authority.

During the meeting, the minister discussed market growth indicators, and ways to strike a balance between market stability and promotional campaigns, as well as how to maintain investments and improve product quality while keeping prices reasonable.

Vodafone had unilaterally raised the prices of prepaid cards by 15 percent, causing sellers to raise the prices of cards of all three companies by 20-25 percent.

On Monday, the government denied a link between rising prices of prepaid mobile phone cards and any new tax measures.

The Egyptian Tax Authority issued a statement saying that there were no new sales taxes on mobile phone services, and that the only increase was 15 percent of the value of the balance card or the monthly voucher.

In addition to the three mobile operators,  Vodafone, France Telecom’s Mobinil, and the Emirati company Etisalat, Telecom Egypt, the sole provider of the country’s fixed line telephone service, is also seeking to enter the Egyptian mobile market.

In December, the Egyptian government approved new tax increases on a number of commodities, including cigarettes and soda drinks, but later retracted them amid mounting criticism, saying they would first put the increases up for public dialogue.