UTL financial troubles continue

1 Sep 2011

Indian-owned Airtel Uganda has announced the termination of its interconnection agreement with Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL) over unpaid interconnection fees. As a result of the dispute, from 5 September, Airtel customers will not be able to connect to customers on the UTL network and vice versa; affecting around 5.4 million subscribers across the two cellcos. Airtel claims that UTL has failed to pay UGX10 billion (USD3.5 million) in fees accrued between 2008 and 2009, damages and legal costs from subsequent court cases filed against state-run UTL. Airtel is the second company to block calls to UTL this year: in March South African-backed MTN Uganda temporarily stopped calls to UTL also over interconnection fees, caused by confusion over the classification of South Sudan, which uses Uganda’s area code. Although MTN and UTL are still locked in a legal battle over the issue, connection has resumed as normal. Local paper Daily Monitor reports that Airtel spokesperson Joseph Kanyamunyu has said that, unlike MTN, it will not lift its embargo until UTL clears its debt.

Uganda, Airtel Uganda, MTN Uganda, Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL)