By Chris Kiwawulo & Michael Odeng
Warid telecom has dragged Uganda telecom (utl) to court over failure to pay sh1.9b in local and international interconnection fees.
In a suit filed in the High Court’s commercial division, Warid wants utl to pay a liquidated sum of sh1.9b being the outstanding amount on account of reconciled E1, local and international interconnection fees, and costs of the suit.
Interconnection rates are fees service providers charge each other for customers to connect to their fixed or mobile phone networks. Telecom companies charge interconnection rates between sh136 to sh138.
“In order to ensure efficiency of operation of interconnection between the respective telecommunications networks, the plaintiff (Warid) and the defendant (utl) entered into a reciprocal agreement for the payment of E1, local and international interconnection charges,” Warid contended.
Warid stated that in accordance with the respective interconnection agreement, the parties were supposed to make payments to each other in respect to E1, local and international interconnection.
Warid added that a demand notice was sent to utl requesting it to pay the reconciled claim figure to no avail, and to date, the company has not paid up. This, Warid argued, has caused has occasioned them immense financial strain.
When contacted, utl managing director Ali Amir confirmed that his company had received the summons to file a defence which he said they had already filed.
When pressed for further comment, Amir only added; “The matter is in court and our legal counsel is handling it. At this moment in time, due to the matter being in court, we cannot comment on specifics. We await the decision of the Court”.
In 2008, MTN sued utl over failure to pay sh3.4b in interconnection fees. In 2011, Airtel and MTN again sued utl over failure to pay sh18b in interconnection fees, which reportedly accumulated over a period of two years.