CAIRO: Telecom Egypt has called the promotional pricing offers announced for the month of Ramadan by local mobile operators “deceptive, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
The local telecom giant, the country s sole fixed-line operator, called the offers misleading to subscribers, as the advertised drastic reductions in per minute calling rates apply only from the third minute of a call onwards.
For the month of Ramadan, Vodafone and Mobinil are offering reduced on-network rates of LE 0.05 per minute, down from LE 0.20 per minute. Etisalat reduced its charges to LE 0.15 per minute to all networks and landlines.
Khaled Hegazy, Vodafone Egypt’s corporate affairs director, said, “Telecom Egypt is one of the four telecom companies in Egypt and we, as Vodafone Egypt, do not comment on other companies’ statements.
He did say however, that the “Ramadan offer is clear and the conditions are properly spelt out.
“The competitive environment in the Egyptian telecom sector is becoming very aggressive. The current Ramadan offers are extremely aggressive, especially the Mobinil and Vodafone offers of LE 0.05 per minute, and this is narrowing the tariff gap between fixed line and mobile calls, said Nadine Ghobiral, a telecom analyst at Cairo investment bank EFG-Hermes.
Telecom Egypt says that the providers did not highlight the full terms of the offers in advertising campaigns, and called this nondisclosure a violation of customer protection rights.
“The regulator usually intervenes before an offer is advertised if the offer is not competitive, and this is what would be expected in a situation like this. I’m not certain if the regulator can intervene over an advertising issue, since the initial offer was approved Ghobrial explained.
Accordingly, the company has requested that the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) intervene and require the operators to clarify the terms of their promotions to ensure that the full terms of the offers are clear and available to customers.
“We have a very strong reputation in the market of being transparent and in all our communications to the customer we are very clear about the terms and conditions of all tariffs, promos, products, services, etc, Hegazy said.
“Telecom Egypt seems concerned about mobile operators aggressive promotions and their effect on reducing mobile-to-fixed traffic. However, the mobile promotions are only offered for one month and, hence, are not permanent, which should not be deemed threatening to the long-term operational performance of Telecom Egypt s voice revenues, wrote Beltone in a research note.