Vodafone Accuses Egypt Of Hijacking Its Network

Vodafone has accused Egyptian authorities of using its network to send out pro-government texts to its customers.

The telecoms giant said that, under the emergency powers provisions of the Telecoms Act, the Egyptian government has instructed Mobinil, Etisalat and Vodafone to send messages to their respective subscribers, and has been doing since the start of the protests against President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

“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,” Vodafone said in a statement.

Describing the situation as “unacceptable”, Vodafone explained that it has protested against the current situation to the authorities.

“We have made clear that all messages should be transparent and clearly attributable to the originator,” the company added.

Vodafone had been ordered to disable its network as part of a country-wide communications blackout, but Reuters reports that the company was told to re-enable its services to end out the pro-government messages before shutting the network down again.

The company’s Internet services were re-enabled on Wednesday, Vodafone Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said, but text messages are still not working.

“It’s not in our power, it will be restored when we are authorised to restore it,” he said.