MTN Rwanda revealed that Rwandatel owes the Nyarutarama based company over Rwf2 billion in outstanding payments from interconnection fees.
According to an official statement from MTN, some of the money owed to MTN dates back to 2008. MTN officials maintain that the issue will be solved amicably.
“MTN regrets that an issue we have been trying to resolve amicably and in private is now in the public domain.
While we are unduly inconvenienced by delay in the resolution of this issue, we would like to reassure the public that not effort will be spared to protect the MTN and Rwandatel customers as well as MTN’s interests,” Andrew Rugege, MTN’s Chief of Operations said.
Rugege also added that discussions and efforts to resolve this issue have been going on for the greater part of this year and that the issue has now been escalated to the industry regulator Rwanda Utility and Regulatory Agency (RURA).
MTN’s official comment follows an article published by The New Times on september 16, 2009, indicating that MTN Rwanda was threatening to bar Rwandatel customers from calling MTN subscribers failure to meet its interconnection fees.
Cutting off the interconnectivity link means that Rwandatel‘s approximately 280,000 subscribers will not be able to call any number on the MTN network which boasts of 1.4 million subscribers.
Cleophas Kabasiita, Rwandatel’s Corporate Communications Manager confirmed the claims saying that her company will ensure that MTN is compensated in the near future.
Under article 39 of the country’s telecom law, all public telecommunications operators are obliged to interconnect their networks with those of the other operators. The law also forbids discrimination by public telecommunications operators in matters of interconnection.
However article 40 indicates that charges for interconnection cover the effective cost of using the network and is sufficiently unbundled so that the applicant is not required to take or pay for any facility not strictly related to the service requested.
Currently the interconnection fees are about Rwf40 for every call made from Rwandatel to MTN Rwanda.