The Uganda Telecom Ltd & Airtel Uganda inter-connection battle
Uganda Telecom Ltd board chairperson, Stephen Kaboyo, has responded to Airtel Uganda threats to disconnect calls from UTL, saying customers will continue receiving and making calls to any network operator in the country.
“Uganda Telecom would like to assure its customers that every effort is being made to ensure no interruption in connectivity between Uganda Telecom and Airtel,” Kaboyo said.
“Customers can continue making and receiving calls from their Uganda Telecom lines to any network operator in the Country. Uganda Telecom remains committed to meeting its service obligations to its customers and business partners,” he added.
Airtel Uganda recently warned that effective February 3, Airtel customers will not be able to make or receive calls from UTL due to wrangles emanating from breach of inter-connection agreements between the two telecommunication companies.
According to Airtel, the inter-connection services and agreement between the two companies have been terminated.
“Airtel Uganda regrets to inform its customers that effective Friday, February 3, 2017, our subscribers will not be able to make calls to or receive calls from Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL). This is because the interconnection agreement and interconnection services between Airtel Uganda and UTL were terminated,” the public notice stated.
“We regret the inconvenience this might cause to our customers,” the management of Airtel added in their three-paragraph notice to customers.
Airtel Uganda’s latest soiled relationship with UTL has come at a time when Uganda Telecom Ltd, a leading firm in the provision of telecommunication services to Government, is facing a rocky time as it struggles to navigate through the communication contours of the country.
A recent Parliamentary select committee report tabled by former Leader of Opposition, Nandala Mafabi, showed that UTL, in which Government has 31% holding, is on verge of a heavy apocalypse due to flaws accruing from gaps in its management.
“Over the past few years, this company has continuously been on a free fall that has reached alarming levels. If nothing is done to rescue it, it could soon cease to exist,” Mafabi said.
Parliament has projected UTL’s debt at sh128bn.
Arbitration from the Uganda Communications Commission
Commenting on Airtel Uganda’s notice to customers, Fred Otunnu, the Director of Corporate Affairs at the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), said although they have not officially received the notice, it is within the mandate of communication regulator to guard customers before sanctioning such declarations.
“Whereas it is a private service arrangement that these companies agree on inter-connection services, UCC has to be notified when it comes to intention to notify because the move to terminate services has implications to the sector and the third party—the public,” he said.
Otunnu added that in the past such conflicts have happened but they are always solved before they go out of hand and are passed on to the third parties, who are the consumers.
“We shall certainly meet all stakeholders and forge a way forward in the interest of telecom consumers,”
Original Article From: New Vision 31-Jan-2017