Vodafone has accused Egypt's embattled president, Hosni Mubarak, of effectively hijacking its network to send propaganda.

The British mobile phone giant, which has a large customer base in Egypt, said Mubarak had forced it to switch off its network as protests began last week.

Mubarak then insisted Vodafone switch on the network, and sent out reams of propaganda text messages, the company said.

Branding the alleged actions as "unacceptable", Vodafone said: "These messages are not scripted by any of the mobile network operators and we do not have the ability to respond to the authorities on their content."

"We have made clear that all messages should be transparent and clearly attributable to the originator."

Mubarak had used emergency powers to gain leverage over the network control, Vodafone said.

This week, Egypt finally restored internet connectivity, following a five day blackout orchestrated by the authorities.

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