Vodafone network 'hijacked' by Egypt

Mobile phone user Mobile phones have played a big part in the Egyptian protests

Mobile phone firm Vodafone has accused the Egyptian authorities of using its network to send unattributed text messages supporting the government.

Vodafone was told to switch off services last week when protests against President Hosni Mubarak began.

But the authorities then ordered Vodafone to switch the network back on, in order to send messages under Egypt's emergency laws, the firm said.

In a statement, Vodafone described the messages as "unacceptable".

"These messages are not scripted by any of the mobile network operators and we do not have the ability to respond to the authorities on their content."

Likely cost

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says that the government clampdown on internet services may have cost the Egyptian economy as much as $18m (£11m) a day or $90m in total.

The impact of the communications block could be even greater, as it would be "much more difficult in the future to attract foreign companies and assure them that the networks will remain reliable", said the OECD in a statement.

In another development, the credit ratings agency Fitch has downgraded the Egypt's debt grade by one notch to BB from BB+, citing the consequences of the continuing political unrest on the economy.

The country's debt grade has already been downgraded by two other ratings agencies, Moody's and Standard & Poor's.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

Features

  • Shinji Mikamo's father's watchTime peace

    The story of the watch that survived Hiroshima


  • Northern League supporters at the party's annual meeting in 2011Padania?

    Eight places in Europe that also want independence


  • Elephant Diaries - BBCGoing wild

    Wildlife film-makers reveal the tricks of the trade


  • Hamas rally in the West Bank village of Yatta, 2006Hamas hopes

    Why the Palestinian group won't back down yet


  • A woman dining aloneTable for one

    The restaurants that love solo diners


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.