ICT minister urges ‘joined at the hip’ MTN, SPTC to cease hostilities

17 Feb 2012

Swaziland’s minister of ICT Winnie Magagula has publicly called for an end to the ongoing hostilities between national telecoms regulator the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunication Corporation (SPTC) and the country’s sole wireless operator MTN Swaziland. According to the Times of Swaziland, Magagula said that she hopes that the dispute – which relates to SPTC’s attempts to launch fixed-wireless services under the ‘ONE’ brand name – can be solved in the boardroom rather than the courtroom, arguing that the two entities cannot do without one another as they are ‘joined at the hip’. MTN believes that ONE contravenes the long-standing Joint Venture Agreement that forbids SPTC from competing with it, but SPTC maintains that it faces financial collapse if it abandoned the fixed-wireless initiative, on account of the substantial sum already invested in it.

During a tour of MTN’s facilities this week, Magagula told board members and staff: ‘I have to see to it that there is harmony between the two companies. There is no way that the government can sit back and watch the fight. Swazi MTN is a child of SPTC and therefore there is no way you can run away from each other. You are a creature of statutes. You are stuck together. I also told SPTC the same thing. I urge you to harmonise your relationship. We have to move out of court corridors and to the boardroom. I urge MTN and SPTC to rekindle the relationship that existed from 1997. Once you harmonise you will give cheaper services to citizens’.

Eswatini, MTN Eswatini