Egypt's National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority ratified on Thursday evening a decision by mobile companies to decrease the value of the mobile recharging cards by 36 percent, starting Friday.
The acting president of the authority, Mostafa Abdel-Wahed, told state news agency MENA on Friday that the price points of the internet and the cards will not change, but the value that they purchase will decrease.
Abdel-Wahed said that customer will obtain 70 percent of the price of the card in charging credit.
For example, he said, the EGP 100 recharging card will give EGP 70 credit, the EGP 50 card will give EGP 35 credit, the EGP 25 will provide EGP 17.5 credit, and so on.
The decision was met with strong criticism on social media, and sparked campaigns calling for a partial boycott of mobile companies.
The Citizens Against Price Increases group called on their Facebook page for all mobile users to participate in a boycott of the three mobile companies on Friday, adding that a pressure group would be formed on Saturday to call for the decision to be reversed.
The group also called on the Egyptian Competition Authority to intervene in favour of customers' rights, and end these monopolistic acts which it said are against the law.
Abdel-Wahed said the companies previously were the ones to pay the taxes; however, in compliance with the law, customers now are paying the taxes, in order to allow the companies to develop their networks, and provide services efficiently, MENA reported.
Earlier this month landline monopoly Telecom Egypt launched WE, the country’s fourth mobile network, joining Orange, Vodafone and Etisalat.
The new mobile network is available with the technologies of 2G and 3G, and 4G experimentally.
Pre-paid cards for the fourth mobile network will be available for distribution by 15 October.