Airtel Uganda Moves to Disconnect UTL Calls Over $3.5 Million Debt
Airtel Uganda is not taking its dispute with UTL over the Ush 10 Billion Interconnect debt lying down. Airtel Uganda gave UTL a notice that if they don’t get their money by September 5th, then all calls to UTL and from UTL will not be let through. Then Mr. Ruhakana Rugunda the Minister of Information and Communication Technology summoned Airtel Uganda MD, V.G Somasekhar, to solve the simmering dispute.
The two operators terminated their interconnect agreement on August 15th and on that basis, Airtel Uganda gave UTL 3 weeks to pay up or be permanently disconnected. Airtel Uganda also went to court last year to press for UTL to pay up and the matter is still pending. UTL has a combined debt of at least Ush 30 Billion ($10.5 Million) which it owes both MTN and Airtel Uganda.
Airtel says that UTL must pay at least Ush 6.5 Billion ($2.3 Billion) for it to lift the interconnect suspension.
The embattled Libyan government owns 69% of Uganda telecom (UTL) (through Ucom) which is now being managed by the Ugandan government. MTN and Airtel Uganda took UTL to court in March 2010 over a combined debt of Ush 30 Billion. UTL disputes the stated figures and says that it has honoured its financial obligations with MTN Uganda.
As a part Libyan government owned entity and with the passing of the UN resolution 1973, the debtors pushed further for UTL to pay up since the UN resolution froze all Libyan government assets. The financial dispute saw the resignation of Mark Kaheru who was the Marketing and Communication manager at UTL.
Libyan African Portfolio (LAP) through Ucom owns 69% of Uganda Telecom (UTL) while the Ugandan Government owns 31%.