Econet takes back its termination pronouncement

Zimbabwe’s Econet and NetOne mobile subscribers who could not make calls across the two networks this week, were shocked when informed they had been disconnected.

In a widely publicised statement earlier this week, Econet, which had an agreement with NetOne for local traffic termination, said the agreement was that NetOne would pay US7cents per minute for calls going to each other’s network. It added that the payments made “as of May 2009 to date were way below what was due.”

Econet, which has about 6.4 million subscribers said the amount owed to them as at July this year is estimated at US$20.4 million excluding interests.

In a statement drafted by Econet, it said it had been “patient enough to allow NetOne to disregard its financial commitment for more than three years noting that they could not continue offering free services.”

The company on Thursday however reversed its decision to terminate interconnection services to State-owned NetOne over the debt.

Econet withdrew its decision after Justice Ben Hlatshwayo expressed his concern on the inconvenience it would cause the public.

This came after NetOne challenged the decision at the High Court in a case brought under a certificate of urgency last night.

The advocates representing both the parties, Mr. Harrison Nkomo of Econet and Mr. Collin Kuhuni of NetOne, confirmed the proceeding.

Nkomoo said though they appeared before Justice Hlatshwayo but no order was made. His client’s decision to restore services was one-sided, adding that the company considered the Negative impact and the unreasonable move taken by NetOne to disregard the impact of the disconnection.

Kuhuni in response said that the trial was not over and that with time the matter will be heard in court again, he further noted that to them, the most important thing was the fact that Tawanda, chairman of Econet had agreed to reconnect NetOne with immediate effect.

Nyambirai had been given a little more time to allow Econet to file their response to his client’s application. He said.

According to Ministry of Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development, Mr. Munesu Munodawafa, it was too early for the government to comment on the issue, adding that they are leaving the matter to Potraz (a body involved in the issuing of licenses in the postal and telecommunications sector) because they bear legal provision to deal with the matter.

NetOne, is a private company wholly owned by government, it was formed as a subsidiary of the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation. It is also the first cellular network operator in Zimbabwe based on Global System for Mobile Communications.

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