The country’s two mobile phone operators, state-owned Tunisie Telecom and Tunisiana, a joint venture of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom and Kuwait’s Wataniya, had 8.1 million customers between them at the end of June, compared with 7.8 million a year earlier.

The slowdown came after the ministry asked both operators to only report the number of active customers – those who have paid to make a phone call or send a text message – during the previous three months.

Tunisiana’s customer numbers from the end of June will be included in Orascom Telecom’s financial update, which is expected on 2 September.

Tunisie Telecom does not disclose any details of its financial performance.