Airtel calls off UTL disconnection, increase tariffs

5 Sep 2011

Airtel Uganda has agreed not to cut off calls to and from the Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL) network after the two telcos reached a payment agreement. The director of telecoms regulator, the Uganda Communication Commission, Godfrey Mutabazi has said that Airtel and UTL has made a new payment plan, although no specifics were given as to how UTL would pay the UGX10 billion (USD3.5 million) debt that it incurred through non-payment of interconnection fees in 2008-2009.

Airtel has also announced that it will follow the lead of MTN Uganda, and increase its tariffs, to UGX4 per second for both on- and off-net calls. UTL said that it was considering a similar move, but no decision had been reached.

The end of Uganda’s ‘price war’, that saw tariffs plummet throughout the first half of the year to below-cost rates, could not have come at a worse time for Ugandans: increasing prices for fuel and food alongside soaring inflation, now in double digits, has severely restricted the purchasing power of the average family. As a consequence, telecoms services are likely to take a back seat on the budget.