Airtel and Africell Uganda in heated Optic Fiber battle

Africell and Afriell fibre optic row

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[/blockquote]Airtel and Africell Uganda found themselves in a heated battle of Optic Fiber– a physical telecoms infrastructure element–as each carrier is accusing the other of sabotage. We got to know about this whole drama in an obviously disguised press release by Africell that was sent to several media houses– copy of which this blog received. The well crafted statement accused the Airtel Uganda, as a major player in the telecom sector for unfair practices against the growing brands like Africell. The Lebanese based teleco bluntly claimed that Airtel Uganda was “stealing” their Optic fiber and  that they’d discovered much of their fiber cable in areas like Entebbe, Bwaise, Bugolobi, 6th street in Kampala, Jinja and some parts of Northern Uganda intentionally diverted by Airtel to their own network. The company went on further to call Airtel Uganda a “bully who continues to play dirty in the face of evidence“, as their efforts to try solve the challenge amicably have been turned down.

The same press release had a statement from the company’s Chief Operating Officer Mohammad Ghaddar who said that Airtel’s move is not only unprofessional but against the rules of fair play. He said that his company believes in fair play and that they are disappointed in the motives of their competition who are frustrating their efforts to deliver services to Ugandans.

Airtel seems to have a different version

It seems Airtel couldn’t take this bad PR lying down and released their own version of the story, where they accused Africell Uganda for damaging Airtel Uganda’s optic fibre cables in some parts of Kampala and Bwaise, in violation of the terms of a Search Warrant that has since been suspended by the Magistrate Court of Nakawa. It should be noted that Airtel has been deploying it’s 4G LTE network that they recently launched –a technology that largely relies on unlimited bandwidth offered by Optic fiber technology. Airtel Uganda said that they had filed an application with the Magistrate Court of Nakawa and secured an Interim Order suspending any further search and or damage of Airtel fibre until court pronounces itself on Airtel’s main application.

So, where is UCC in all this?

Apparently, this matter was brought to the attention of the Regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) who input so far is unknown but Airtel maintains that the allegations levied by Africell Uganda against them are unfounded intended to injure the reputation of Airtel Uganda, the Mobile Network Operator maintains. Airtel is exploring legal redress in order to protect their reputation and hold Africell Uganda liable to the full extent of the law.

 

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