Uganda: UTL Finally Clarifies On Row With MTN

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Uganda Telecom Limited has refuted reports about the 30-day ultimatum by the Uganda Communications Commission directing it to pay its debt to MTN as directed by court, in order to defuse tension in the industry.

On June 8, Daily Monitor reported the Executive Director of UCC, Godfrey Mutabazi, as saying that the problems between MTN and UTL are affecting consumers and in 30 days the regulator will make another move to ease tension in the telecom sector.

UTL Chief Operations Officer, Stanley Henning, however, said in a statement that the report did not accurately reflect the status of things on the ground."Uganda Telecom and MTN Uganda had resolved in writing the payment terms on unpaid arrears in relation to local interconnection.

"We sat and agreed on the payment of the arrears on local interconnection and as UTL, we are happy with the agreement and its terms," Henning, also UTL managing director, said.

The court ordered UTL to pay Shs20b interconnection fees to MTN for users to call across the two networks.Henning explained that the dispute between the two parties is in relation to interconnection fees for traffic that UTL carried to Southern Sudan, in which the High Court made a ruling in favour of MTN Uganda.

"We were not satisfied with the High Court ruling and we appealed against it. So there is a legal process going on which we can't interfere with. The amount of money under dispute is not Shs20 billion as reflected in the article, but Shs5 billion as stated in the court ruling of April 28 2011," he said in the statement.

Henning said that UTL is concerned by statements that there is warfare between them and MTN Uganda: "We are concerned about the statement that there is warfare between us as reported by the press. But as far as we are concerned, there is no warfare between MTN and UTL."