|Key people||Hatem Dowidar (CEO)|
|Products||Mobile phone services|
Vodafone Egypt is the largest mobile phone company in Egypt in terms of active subscribers. It was launched in 1998 under its former name Click GSM. It covers various voice and data exchange services, as well as 3G, ADSL and broadband Internet services.
Vodafone Egypt was initially headquartered in Maadi, Cairo since 1998 and until 2003; when Vodafone moved its headquarters to the Sixth of October City. Currently, all of Vodafone's core operations are run from Vodafone's campus at the Smart Village Technology Park.
License and Establishment
In March 1998, the Egyptian Ministry of Telecommunications announced that MisrFone Group (of which Vodafone owned a 30% share) was awarded the second license for GSM operations in Egypt (under the brand name of Click GSM). This decision was part of the move to privatize and liberalize the Egyptian market at the time. The first license was given to the national incumbent which had launched the first mobile service in 1996 (the company is now Mobinil). In 2007, the telecommunications market in Egypt grew further and became more competitive when the third entrant to the market, Etisalat Misr, was awarded the third license for GSM operations.
In January 2007, Egypt’s National Telecom Regulatory Agency (NTRA) awarded Vodafone Egypt a 15-year 3G licence.
In 2011, Vodafone became the market leader in terms of revenue share and with the largest customer base. Vodafone Egypt provides its services for both individuals and enterprises in Egypt focusing on telecommunication services from Voice to Data and Internet services. As part of that strategy, Vodafone Egypt initially acquired 51% of Raya Telecom in September 2006 which offered a variety of resources that would help Vodafone expand. It had a geographically dispersed network within Egypt and a solid experience in the fixed-line data communication field. As Raya Telecom’s resources provided an ideal match for Vodafone’s growth strategy, the remaining portion of Raya Telecom was acquired and, in June 2007 Vodafone Egypt assumed full ownership.
Vodafone International Services (VIS)
VIS is a Vodafone Egypt subsidiary dedicated to delivering Business process outsourcing (BPO) and information technology outsourcing (ITO) services for sister Vodafone operators and beyond. Vodafone International Services started to provide services to Vodafone UK with 4 IT professionals in 2002.
In 2008, Vodafone Egypt acquired Sarmady (formerly Sarcom). Established in 2001, Sarmady led some of Egypt’s popular internet content and services, fixed and mobile including sports, film, music, city guides, classifieds and social network. It became the digital arm, delivering Vodafone’s Internet experience in Egypt.
Vodafone Egypt Foundation
Vodafone Egypt Foundation makes long term social investments and was registered in 2003 as a Corporate Donor in the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity. The Foundation is registered as a separate legal entity from Vodafone Egypt, governed by an independent Board of Trustees that includes a number of prominent figures in the area of development and social work in Egypt.
Vodafone Egypt Foundation is among 23 Vodafone Foundations around the world and is part of Vodafone's commitment to be a responsible global citizen and member of society. The Foundation is driven by Vodafone's strategic goal of being a leading responsible business by engaging in various forms of social investment aiming at improving the livelihood for marginalized people in Egypt. Vodafone Egypt Foundation implements all its projects through NGOs by granting funds to implement projects in addition to in-kind and volunteering support by Vodafone Egypt employees.
In February 2011, Vodafone Egypt Foundation launched the literacy initiative, a nationwide program (in cooperation with the UNESCO, and the Life Makers Association, as well as several civil society organization and relevant entities and in coordination with the Egyptian Ministry of Education) to tackle a major problem in Egyptian Society, illiteracy. The initiative aims to eradicate the illiteracy of 17 million Egyptians by 2017.
Criticism during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution
During the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, Vodafone was heavily criticized by the Egyptian public for switching off services (the other operating networks as of then, Mobinil and Etisalat did the same) when protests against former president Hosni Mubarak began. But the Egyptian authorities then ordered Vodafone to switch the network back on, in order to send unsolicited text messages under Egypt's, then enacted, emergency laws.
In response to the criticisms regarding those text messages, Vodafone announced that the Egyptian government forced all telecom operators to send pro-Hosni Mubarak text messages to its customers in that country. The company says it "protested to the authorities that the current situation regarding these messages is unacceptable"
Vodafone also faced a backlash in Egypt over an advert suggesting it helped inspire this year's revolution in the country. The three-minute commercial featured excerpts from a previous Vodafone ad campaign entitled “Our Power”. The video goes on to show images from protest rallies in Cairo's Tahrir Square before claiming: "We didn't send people to the streets, we didn't start the 2011 Egyptian revolution … We only reminded Egyptians how powerful they are." Vodafone has strongly disassociated itself from the commercial, which was produced by the international marketing firm JWT. "The company does not have any connection to this video and had no prior knowledge of its production or posting on the internet," said Hatem Dowidar.
- NTRA Quarterly Report. April 2012.
- "Vodafone Egypt awarded 3G licence". Telegeography.
- "Vodafone network 'hijacked' by Egypt". BBC News.
- Sherman, Erik. "Vodafone: Egypt Made Us Send Those Pro-Mubarak Texts. Critics: So?". CBS Interactive Inc.
- Shenker, Jack. "Fury over advert claiming Egypt revolution as Vodafone's video scorned because phone company obeyed Mubarak's order to shut down network during protests". The Guardian.