Regulator suspends Telecel interconnection amid XAF600m tax dispute

8 Feb 2017

Central African Republic-based mobile network operator (MNO) Telecel-RCA has had its international calling capacity suspended by the Agency of Telecommunications Regulation (Agence de Regulation des Telecommunications, ART), with the watchdog also prohibiting the cellco from interconnecting with its domestic rivals Orange, Moov and Azur. According to APA News, the ART imposed these sanctions on Telecel on 27 January after the MNO failed to pay the government a total of XAF600 million (USD979,513) in duties and other taxes. According to ART personnel at the time of the announcement, the regulator intended to block Telecel’s interconnection until the cellco paid the public treasury in full. However, subsequent reports from publications including state that Telecel’s interconnection suspension was lifted two days later on 29 January, despite the cellco having not paid its dues, with unnamed local sources hinting at higher-level government intervention in the matter, although the exact circumstances of the apparent reversal are unconfirmed.