After over eight years of legal battles, court has ordered Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) to pay MTN Uganda Limited, more than $ 2.2 million(UGX 6 billion) for interconnection fees for the period from March to December 2007. MTN and UTL signed and interconnection deal in 2001.
According to the daily Monitor, the Court of Appeal justices, Remmy Kasule, Rubby Aweri Opio and Richard Buteera, made the order while dismissing an appeal by Uganda Telecom to stay a High Court order in which UTL has to pay interest on the said monies. These are charges for delayed payments at 19% including damages worth Shs100 million with interest at 8%.
Court documents show that in February 2008, MTN invoiced UTL for Shs6 billion as interconnection fees but they later paid Shs3 billion contending that the balance was not due to them, leading to the court case.
MTN, through their lawyers Kampala Associated Advocates, argued that the said arose as a result of applying the domestic rate of Shs100 to the telephone traffic exchange between UTL and MTN for telephone traffic originating from and terminating on code +256 6477 XXX.
The said amount of money arose out of interconnection with Gemtel, telecommunications operator in South Sudan. Court held that the network for UTL and Gemtel was one because the code was for local traffic. The Court of Appeal held that the Ugandan minister in charge of Telecommunications did not issue guidelines in accordance with the request by the government of South Sudan for use of the Uganda code +256 by Gemtel Limited, a communications company licensed to operate in the country. Court also heard that the telephone traffic that terminated on UTL’s own network of +256 477 xxx was local as its network which had been allocated to Gemtel for use in South Sudan.
Source: Daily Monitor