Egypt's Mobile Networks Accused of Operating a Cartel
Published on: 10th Dec 2013
By: Ian Mansfield
Egypt's three mobile networks have been referred to the Public Prosecutor following allegations that they formed a Cartel to raise the prices of mobile services and to restrict marketing processes under the pretext of charging the stamp tax.
The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) claims that the Cartel agreement cost Egyptian consumers around EGP500 million (USD72 million) a year in higher phone bills.
The ECA says that it received a complaint in October 2012 accusing the mobile networks of collectively adding stamp tax on prepaid recharge cards at the same time earlier in the year.
The mobile network operators were previously absorbing the cost of the stamp tax to attract consumers but in March 2012 they are alleged to have privately agreed to impose the tax on the consumer without notifying the regulator in advance. The regulator later approved the tariff hikes, although it was not aware of the alleged cartel.
As part of its investigation ECA noted that it had also previously referred Mobinil and Etisalat to the Public Prosecutor due to refraining from providing the Authority with the required data and information.