12 February 2012
Dr. Mohamed Salem Heads CRPR Meeting

Creating YouTube channel to raise awareness for Telecom Users’ Rights
- Building a Website to communicate with Consumers Rights Protection Committee members
- Specialized Call Center for people with special needs to take advantage of communications services and communicate with the community

Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Dr. Mohamed Salem held a meeting with members of the Consumers’ Rights Protection Committee of the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority.

The meeting addressed reviewing and discussing a number of issues related to providing ICT services to consumers besides suggesting a number of solutions that could contribute to support the work system in ICT sector during the coming period.

Dr. Mohamed Salem reviewed the sector evolution and its growth rates during the last period despite the events that Egypt is going through. Yet, the number of subscribers in mobile phone services is about 82 million, with a capacity that reached 106%.  Dr. Salem added that Tablet PC project will soon be announced which is scheduled to be produced in Egypt at a cost of up to USD 40 per unit. According to him, this project shall be the first industry of this sector in Egypt.

It is also planned to support the Arabic content project as well as cloud computing in order to assist nearly 20 million students to access the internet and complete the “Maintain Our Heritage and History” project and document it on the internet within the next 5 years. Moreover, MCIT plans to complete the training program that is being implemented with African countries.
NTRA Executive President, Dr. Amr Badawi reviewed the Committee’s achievements to protect consumers’ rights during the previous period, namely:

1- Issuing the Rights and Obligations Code for consumers. It includes a set of guidelines, which contribute to adjust the relationship between the consumer and operator, aiming at promoting the culture of rights and duties among users.

2- A special content was prepared particularly for people with special needs of hearing and speaking disabilities about NTRA and its role as well as CRPC’s role, in addition to all communications’ services and publishing them online, so that people with special needs would be able to follow up technical updates. 

Currently, establishing a call center for people with special needs (of hearing and speaking disabilities) is being considered, under the supervision of NTRA. This call center will enable people with disabilities to communicate better through communication services and the community at large.

3- Modifying a group of items contained in telecom operators contracts (fixed - mobile) to be in line with the protection of consumers’ rights. Furthermore, a set of rules were issued and announced through NTRA website. Companies are required to include them in all contracts signed with users.

4- It has been agreed with Telecom Egypt and all mobile operators to allocate “122” and “112” as emergency service numbers of all kinds. All telecom operators, as agreed, published an electronic copy of their contracts each on its website, so that users may check the contract online and have enough time to read before contracting. Such a thing gives the consumers the right to choose best option.

5- NTRA call center hotline number “155” has also been frequently announced through all newspapers, along with coordination with companies to announce it through their websites.

6- "Know your right" campaign was launched through field visits to governorates and meeting with popular, civil and government leaders of each governorate.

This is to raise awareness through popular conferences where consumers have the opportunity to learn from experts members of the Committee and NTRA.  The campaign is currently suspended due to political events and difficulty of traveling between governorates.  It shall be resumed once conditions stabilize.

7- 9 awareness publications and CD were issued to educate consumers of all ICT services to be utilized in conferences, seminars and exhibitions held by National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, or to which NTRA is invited.

8- Codes were issued to invite consumers to deal with mobile phone and internet services positively and avoid negative practices, whereas a code for the internet was issued as well as another code for mobile phone.

9- Working on enhancing cooperation with civil society organizations through signing of a cooperation protocol with the General Federation for civil associations and institutions, as the core work for joint workshops. This aims at creating a group of NGOs capable of spreading awareness of ICT services and promoting the culture of rights and duties.

10- Awareness materials were prepared with a set of thorny issues that are of interest to consumers by the Commission's experts, such as clarifying medical facts about telephone stations and mobile phones, as well as their impact on health and environment.

11- The meaning of privacy was identified, in addition to the rules and principles that must be adhered to by telecom network operators regarding confidentiality and privacy of communications.

12- Completion of releasing the Committee’s YouTube channel to communicate and promote awareness materials.

13- The following website (www.crpc.org.eg) was also created.

By the end of the meeting, the Committee has recommended the necessity of forming popular committees to promote awareness among citizens in all regions and governorates through imams, preachers and church leaders on the importance of mobile stations and the need to preserve them, as public properties, as well as holding awareness raising campaigns that describe the highest level of procedures in the field of health and environment by NTRA.

This is to have these stations competent to highest rates of health and environment safety in the world, and thus, maintain citizens’ health and implement the cooperation protocol signed between the Ministries of Health, Environment and Communications. 

The meeting has also stressed on the speed of the call center work completion for people with special needs of hearing and talking disabilities to empower them with to communicate better with communications services and the community at large.

Users’ Rights Committee is an NTRA affiliate comprised of eminent personalities and experts, with technological, medical, legal and media backgrounds.

The Committee's role is based on ensuring that Egyptian consumers access their rights within ICT sector, which is represented in: free competition, reasonable prices, quality of service, monopoly prevention, attention to people with special needs and providing them with appropriate services, in addition to eliminating wrong practices by raising awareness of telecom services.

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