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Egypt’s Consumer Protection Agency refers Orange and Vodafone to prosecution for misleading ads

The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) referred telecoms companies Orange and Vodafone to the prosecution on Tuesday for misleading consumers in adverts claiming they each offer the best 4G services in Egypt, when neither company has fully launched this service.

“Adverts on the official Facebook pages of both companies, and on billboards and cars, compete for who is the best provider of 4G,” before this service has been properly launched, to lure customers to subscribe, according to a statement by head of the CPA Atef Yaakoub.

Orange and Vodafone both signed contracts with the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) in October to offer 4G services in Egypt, but neither have become fully operational yet.

The CPA contacted the NTRA to verify the claims made by the companies and was told the adverts are, “promotional campaigns for the fourth generation services which haven’t been launched commercially yet … mere promises to attract consumers to the service that they will launch on the Egyptian market,” according to Yaakoub’s statement.

This promotional material violates Egypt’s consumer protection laws, which state that service providers must issue accurate information to consumers and avoid giving misleading impressions.

In related news, a court issued a verdict Sunday fining Orange LE49 million, to be paid to Telecom Egypt, in compensation for illegally building network towers to allow transfers of calls to Israel.

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