Last Update 10:31
Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Facebook's 2-month Free Basics offer to Etisalat 'simply expired,' says Egyptian official

The official at the Ministry of Telecommunications told Reuters 'national security' had nothing to do with ending the service

Reuters , Ahram Online , Thursday 31 Dec 2015
Facebook and Etisalat
The logos of Facebook and Etisalat (Photo: Ahram Online)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 4763
Share/Bookmark
Views: 4763

A Facebook-sponsored service that offers limited free Internet access to clients of the mobile carrier Etisalat was suspended in Egypt on Wednesday after a permit required from the government was not renewed, an official from the Telecommunications Ministry explained to Reuters.

Facebook's Free Basics service, which aims to provide free access to Facebook and some partner websites in developing countries, was launched in Egypt two months ago by the mobile carrier Etisalat.

The official, who declined to be named, said Etisalat had only been granted a permit to offer the service for two months and that, when it expired on Wednesday, the service was suspended.

The suspension was not related to security concerns, the official said.

Etisalat said only that it would release a statement on Thursday.

Facebook had told AP on Wednesday "We're disappointed that Free Basics will no longer be available in Egypt. More than 1 million people who were previously unconnected had been using the Internet because of these efforts."

Etisalat Misr, that launched its services to Egyptians in 2007, is the smallest of Egypt's three privately-owned mobile operators in terms of market share.

Vodafone and Mobinil carriers control the lion share of  the 93 million mobile lines registered in Egypt in 2015.

Etisalat operates 22 million subscriptions, Vodafone operates 38 million subscriptions, while Mobinil share of the market stands at 33 million subs.

Etisalat is 66 percent owned by he United Arab Emirates-based Etisalat Group.

Facebook and other social media sites are extremely popular in Egypt, and were used to organise protests during the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.