Egypt's Mobinil to be investigated for alleged false advertising

Ahram Online, Tuesday 22 Jan 2013

Consumer Protection Agency refers Egypt's oldest mobile phone provider to prosecutors for allegedly misinforming consumers

Mobinil retail outlet in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's oldest mobile phone operator, Mobinil, was referred to prosecutors by the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) for allegedly misinforming consumers about the quality of the company's services, Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website reported Tuesday.

CPA head Atef Yaacoub said that Mobinil had published an advertisement in Egyptian state daily Al-Akhbar on 22 December in which it claimed that it led Egypt's mobile phone service providers in terms of data and voice service quality.

The advertisement, Yaacoub asserted, was written in a way that implied that the stated information had been taken from official reports issued by Egypt's National Telecommunications Regulation Authority (NTRA) when it was actually the result of Mobinil's own calculations.

The NTRA, for its part, ran a 4 January disclaimer in Egyptian state daily Al-Ahram, saying that the material in the Mobinil advertisement had not been taken from any of its official reports.

"The NTRA has not ranked [Egyptian mobile phone] companies in terms of [performance] indicators," the regulator's disclaimer read.

"Determining which network has an advantage over the other is done at the city level and per each index and not on absolute terms," the NTRA added. "No company can announce a general ranking based on our indicators."

Mobinil officials were not available for comment.

Despite the news, Mobinil shares on the stock exchange gained 0.71 per cent in Tuesday trading to close the day out at LE140.8 per share.

The mobile carrier boasts some 30 million subscribers making it the second largest in the Egyptian market after Vodafone Egypt.

Previously owned by Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris, Mobinil was acquired by France Telecom last spring in Egypt's largest corporate acquisition in 2012.

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