CAIRO: The new board of Egypt’s landline monopoly operator Telecom Egypt (TE) decided in a late Thursday meeting to exclude a senior official rejecting calls for cutting internet prices, Youm7 reported.
The meeting was held amid concerns after a Facebook movement called “Internet Revolution Egypt” launched a campaign calling for boycotting Egypt’s three mobile service providers, Mobinil, Vodafone and Etisalat, for five hours on Thursday demanding “lower prices” and “better quality.”
Campaign founder, Ahmed Abd El-Naby, vowed in a statement on their FB page to launch a second escalated campaign after the first achieved a “landslide success.”
Abd El-Naby said: “Our voice reached to the presidency,” pledging to initiate another call Saturday under the slogan “down with our networks.”
Egypt’s social platforms were raided by the boycott calls and supporters posted pictures from all over Egypt for their mobile phones without the SIM cards.
“Between five to eight million people boycotted the mobile companies,” campaign coordinator, Islam Khaled said in a phone interview with Al-Youm TV channel.
TE’s board also considered a proposal to separate TE’s internet provider affiliate TE Data, on accusations that the first grants TE Data more benefits in internet services, than mobile operators who own most internet providing companies, which they claim “a breach of equal opportunity.”
TE Data seizes 60 percent share of internet market in Egypt, and TE owns the rights to provide the infrastructure for internet companies.
An unnamed source told Youm7 that the board decided to exclude engineer Sayed Gharabawy, TE’s Vice President for business affairs, who strongly stood against slashing infrastructure leasing prices.
Osama Yassin, TE’s newly elected chief executive officer, told Youm7 that Gharabawy was appointed an advisor for the company CEO after his dismissal.
Some TE officials assured readiness for reducing the prices, but not at the expanses of public funds. TE is 80 percent state owned and the company is listed on the Egyptian Exchange.
They urged the mobile operators to sacrifice their profit margin, in order to satisfy their clients.
Sources inside mobile service providers told Youm7 that “the impact of the boycott campaign can only be measured on Sunday after the weekend,” ruling out it would burden them with heavy losses as both pre-paid card or bill subscribers are paying in advance.
They further affirmed that the biggest loss will be burdened by Telecom Egypt.