Egypt’s ministry rejects tax hikes on top-ups

After days of frustration and complaints from customers, Egypt’s ministry of communications issued a statement attempting to clarify the recent top-ups of mobile credit for users. Vodafone Egypt has increased its rates by 15 percent, but claims it is offering double the included minutes with the new tax.

Egypt's Ministry of Communications has issued a statement to clarify top-ups of mobile credit. Vodafone Egypt is reported to have increased its rates by 15 percent, but claims it is offering double the included minutes. (Image: File)

However, this is not the case. Recent top-ups by has revealed that the new tax on recharging is not giving double the minutes at numerous shops.

The new taxes mean that a 10 Egyptian pound card will cost 11.5 Egyptian pounds. The ministry added that the country’s other two mobile phone operators have not increased their prices and remain the same.

The telecom regulator, the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority stressed “that no additional taxes have been applied to recharge cards and urged consumers to not pay more than the standard prices.”

It said some “greedy merchants” took advantage of Vodafone’s offer, in an attempt to boost their own profits.

One shopowner showed the Internet recharge device and he was unable to charge less than 11.5 Egyptian pounds for a 10 pound top-up, belying the argument being made by the regulator.

ICT Minister Atef Helmy met with the heads of the mobile operators at the NTRA office, to discuss the prices issues. During the meeting, market growth indicators and recent pricing strategies were reviewed, and they discussed how to maintain market stability and the companies’ investments, despite an over 75 percent drop in prices in the past five years.

 Joseph Mayton