Vodaphone Shuts Down Service in Egypt

Vodaphone, the world’s largest mobile operator and the largest carrier in Egypt, has shut down service in the country due to a government order, the company said:

All mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas. Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it. The Egyptian authorities will be clarifying the situation in due course.

Anti-government protests reported to involve tens of thousands of citizens erupted on Tuesday and have been gaining momentum as the government and police attempt to silence them. The government also shut down internet service across the country, although it maintained service vital to commerce.

The news prompted calls for a boycott of Vodaphone from observers on Twitter. “Time to boycott vodaphone around the world for their shamefull treatment of #egypt in blocking their phones,” one user in England wrote.

The communication breakdown is sure to make it more difficult for protestors to organize among themselves or get information out of the country. We aren’t seeing English-speaking protestors updating on Twitter from inside the country or videos like the famous video of a woman dying on the sidewalk during protests in Iran last year uploaded to YouTube.

But even though the Egyptian revolution will not be tweeted, it’s still being tweeted about: Mohamed ElBaradei, Egyptian opposition leader, is a trending topic.

ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries Vodaphone Shuts Down Service in Egypt