MTN Rwanda is threatening to disconnect Rwandatel customers over failure to meet its interconnection fees obligations, The Business Times has learnt.
Cutting off the interconnectivity link means that Rwandatel‘s approximately 280,000 subscribers will not be able to make a call on the MTN network which is comprised of at least 1.4 million subscribers.
Under the telecommunication services provision regulations in Rwanda. Companies are required to assess and pay each other whatever interconnection fees are due to them at the end of every month.
The terms of the law also provide for either party to legally cut off interconnectivity.
Currently the interconnection fees are about Rwf40 for every call made from Rwandatel to MTN.
Subscribers are charged the interconnection fees from within the normal call charges.
Information availed on condition of anonymity indicates that for every call made from a Rwandatel line to MTN, Rwandatel is obliged to remit Rwf40 to MTN.
The source who talked to Business Times said that for almost eight months Rwandatel has not paid consequently accumulating billions of francs in debt to MTN.
When contacted for an official comment, officials at MTN office at Nyarutarama, declined to comment on the issue citing ongoing negotiations with the regulator, the Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority (RURA).
Cleophas Kabasiita, Rwandatel’s Corporate Communications Manager said that Rwandatel has good partenership and the issue is being addressed.
“Due to our long relationship of trust, MTN has not had a problem with this because they know for sure that we will ensure they are compensated,” Kabasiita said.
She also added that Rwandatel has shared so many facilities with MTN including office space, hosting of switches, as well as their entire billing systems.
“Since we launched our GSM operation last December, we had Rwandatel customers calling MTN thus the interconnection fees. We are in talks about clearing this and we will do so in the near future,” Kabasiita said.
Efforts to get an official comment from RURA, were futile by press time.
MTN and Rwandatel are currently the only active national operators in Rwanda. Millicom’s TIGO brand is expected to commercially launch its service as a new operator by the end of this year.