Competition between telecom giants Africell and Airtel in Uganda is heating up as each accuses the other of damaging their fibre optic cables.
Airtel Uganda issued a statement accusing Africell Uganda of damaging their optic fibre cables. “Today, it has come to our attention that Africell Uganda has damaged Airtel Uganda’s optic cables in some parts of Kampala and Bwaise, in violation of terms of a search warrant that has since been suspended by the Magistrate Court of Nakawa,” the statement reads in part.
Mr Mohammad Ghaddar, the Africell Uganda chief operating officer, rebutted that Africell Uganda has been doing works on its networks to provide reinforcements for their backbone optic fibre cables that are used for data. “Due to delays in buying the fibre cables, someone took advantage to channel our network. We decided to investigate further,” he said.
“We discovered that over 200km of our network infrastructure cable in the areas of Bugolobi, Jinja, Entebbe, Bwaise, Industrial Area and northern Uganda were being diverted by Airtel Uganda for their own use,” Mr Ghaddar said the unfair play has not only left Africell Uganda frustrated but also cost them billions of Shillings. According to Mr Ghaddar, a fibre cable costs about $2,000 (Shs6.7m) a kilometre, and the over 200km fibre cable is costing Africell Uganda over Shs3 billion.
Africell also claims that they have been facing outages of their network especially in the northern part of the country.
However, Airtel Uganda said, “We wish to clarify in most unequivocal terms that the allegations levied by Africell Uganda against Airtel Uganda are unfounded. The allegations are full of falsehoods intended to injure the reputation of Airtel Uganda.”
Mr Ghaddar said Africell tried to reach out to Airtel to explain why their cable was found in their network but they failed to come to agreement.