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Vodafone says sorry for pro-Mubarak messages

Emergency powers invoked in Egypt

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As protests continue both for and against the continued rule of Hosni Mubarak, Vodafone Egypt has apologised to its subscribers who have received a stream of pro-government text messages.

Vodafone, along with other networks, found its services blocked in Egypt as the government tried to stymie reform protests.

But it has now gone public to complain that the Egyptian government has the right to use Vodafone, and the other networks, to send text messages to subscribers.

Vodafone said: "Under the emergency powers provisions of the Telecoms Act, the Egyptian authorities can instruct the mobile networks of Mobinil, Etisalat and Vodafone to send messages to the people of Egypt. They have used this since the start of the protests.

"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 Group has protested to the authorities that the current situation regarding these messages is unacceptable. We have made clear that all messages should be transparent and clearly attributable to the originator."

Vodafone's whole complaint to the Egyptian government is here.

Separately, Vodafone took to Facebook to tell subscribers that pre-pay customers would get some free credit because of the unavailability of pre-pay cards - many shops have been looted and cash is hard to come by. Monthly subscribers also get some free credit, and Vodafone promised not to cut anyone off for late payment of bills until the crisis is over. ®

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