A Vodafone store is pictured in London. The British mobile phone company is under fire for its actions during Egypt's Arab Spring.
A Vodafone store is pictured in London. The British mobile phone company is under fire for its actions during Egypt's Arab Spring. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

Vodafone, one of the world's largest cellular operators and the part-owner of the U.S. wireless company Verizon, is under fire for its actions during Egypt's Arab Spring.

The company's footprint in Egypt is large -- it is the  largest mobile phone company in Egypt, with more subscribers than any other company in the country.

Vodafone was forced during the uprising by the Mubarak regime to shut down its network for 24 hours, and the operator also prevented its customers accessing the Internet for five days.

Before the uprising in Egypt, Vodafone was signing up 3 million new customers per quarter. In the three months after the revolution that had slumped 80 percent.

"Companies aren't perfect prognosticators, they are also not the ethical arbiter of whether or not a regime survives or not," said Scott Cleland, who runs the Precursor consulting firm.

If Vodafone had sided with protestors and the Mubarak regime survived, the company could have been in breach of its contracts and kicked out of the country.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.