Egypt's second mobile phone service launches

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CAIRO--Egypt's Misrfone unrolled a heavy-weight TV and newspaper campaign November 30 to launch the country's second telecommunications service.

Misrfone has tapped Cairo-based Impact/ BBDO to craft a month-long campaign for its Click GSM mobile service. The message - "With Click GSM your voice is always heard" - takes aim at rival MobiNil, which has faced customer complaints about its service.

"It's very much a quality strategy," says Lynne Nicholls, marketing communications executive for Misrfone.

Misrfone's latest campaign follows earlier ads aimed to persuade customers to wait for its services, rather than registering for MobiNil's. MobiNil is Egypt's first private telecommunications network. It began services earlier this year.

Misrfone - a partnership of local and international companies, including British Vodafone and U.S.-based AirTouch - is also promoting a discount offer during its first two weeks of service.

The anticipated competition between the two companies - which experts estimate includes the most expensive advertising war in Egypt's history - marks a dramatic shift for the country, which only privatized its telecommunications sector earlier this year.

Ms. Nicholls will not disclose Misrfone's ad budget, but says it's substantially less than MobiNil's. "Our strategy is to spend our money wisely," she says. "We won't waste it."

Recently, MobiNil switched accounts from Saatchi & Saatchi Egypt, which handled its short-term ad contract, to TN Communications, one of Egypt's biggest and oldest ad agencies.

Copyright December 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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