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Sunday, 1 October 2017

Prepaid mobile phone credit prices hiked 36%

Prepaid mobile phone credit prices rise 36%: The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) approved an effective price hike on prepaid mobile phone scratch cards, leaving face values unchanged, but lowering the value of airtime charged on each, Al Mal reports. An NTRA source tells the newspaper that consumers will not be paying more per card, but the value of the purchased credit has been cut by 36%. The new prices were scheduled to come into effect as of Thursday evening, and are being applied to old scratch cards that have yet to be sold, NTRA Vice President El Sayed Azzouz tells Al Shorouk.

The decision has ruffled feathers, with the House of Representatives summoning ICT Minister Yasser El Kady to discuss the reasons behind the increased cost of the service. House Telecoms Committee Under Secretary Ahmed Zedan tells Al Shorouk the move was not approved by parliament and could therefore be overturned or amended. MP Abdel Hameed Kamal said the hikes coincide with the launch of Telecom Egypt’s WE, which should have increased competitiveness among MNOs and brought down service costs, Al Mal reports. The decision to allow MNOs to hike prices came as they sought a 5% profit margin on scratch cards against the current 2%, the newspaper says.

MNOs say they had requested permission to hike prices across the board following the float of the EGP and lifting of fuel and electricity subsidies, according to Al Borsa. The NTRA’s Azzouz says MNOs had requested an increase of 50%, which the NTRA reduced to 36% to reflect the additional costs incurred by the value-added tax. The authority has reportedly also granted Telecom Egypt’s Ehna / We mobile network permission to offer a 30% discount on phone scratch cards. Other MNOs will not be allowed to make the same offer.

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