In Summary

Problem. The dispute has been over non-payment of a debt


Uganda Telecom (UTL) customers will continue to make calls to their counterparts on Airtel. This comes after the two telecom companies resolved the interconnection fees dispute and agreed on new payment schedule.

“The management of Uganda telecom and Airtel have resolved all issues related to contractual obligations and are pleased to announce its business as usual,” a UTL statement signed by the chairman Mr Stephen Kaboyo, read in part.

Early last week, Airtel revealed that the “interconnection agreement and interconnection services between itself and UTL had been terminated.”

“Airtel Uganda regrets to inform its customers that effective Friday 3rd February 2017, our subscribers will not be able to make calls to or receive calls from Uganda Telecom Limited,” the notice read in part.

Mr Dennis Kakonge, the Legal and regulatory director Airtel Uganda last week said Uganda Telecom owed Airtel over Shs8 billion arising out of unpaid interconnect fees and leased line services offered to Uganda Telecom by Airtel.

UTL also issued a statement that day assuring customers that it was doing everything it can to resolve the matter. And in deed true to their statement, the two telecom companies have come to an agreement.

An interconnection agreement is where two telecom companies agree on a fee to charge per call.
Depending on the number of calls, the telecoms remit to each other amounts based on the calls made or the agreement.
In this case, UTL was at fault for not remitting money to Airtel. The termination results from a dispute that can be traced as far back as 2012.

In 2011, Airtel suspended calls to UTL over unpaid Shs10 billion in interconnection fees. UTL later paid the debt.
The two telecoms then made another Interconnection Agreement in 2012 but by end of 2014, UTL had violated it.

In 2016, Airtel petitioned UTL in the commercial court to demand payment of the debt. The payment remained unpaid and that in part explains Airtel’s decision to terminate the agreement.