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Mozambique: regulator steps in to defuse Vodacom, Tmcel dispute

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Mozambique , 18 Jun 2021

Mozambique’s telecommunications industry regulator, the Mozambique National Communications Institute (INCM) has stepped in to defuse a dispute between Vodacom and state-owned Mozambique Telecom (Tmcel) over a 60 million Meticais (about US$10-million) interconnection debt.

Vodacom has accused Tmcel of failure to comply with the interconnection contract between the two operators and said the debt has been accumulating since 2018.

The operator had threatened to stop connecting calls from Tmcel users to its network unless the debt was settled by 16 June 2021. It said the move was necessary to avoid escalation of the debt, and added that its users could still continue to make calls to the Tmcel network.

Vodacom said the text message service would remain unaffected in order to ensure there was still communication between subscribers of the two networks because “Vodacom values the fact that it is providing a public service with the aim of brining communication to all Mozambicans.”

The INCM called for an urgent meeting with the two operators in a bid to resolve the problem.

After the meeting, INCM Director General Tuaha Mote said there would be no interruption in the interconnection and that the services provided by the two operators would continue to flow normally.

Mote said: “It should be clarified that this is basically a commercial dispute between the two companies and the INCM has come in merely to mediate in the negotiations. We think the understanding reached today will be decisive for the definitive solution of the differences.”

But according to a report published in local online news publication the Club of Mozambique, there is still no agreement in place as to how the debt is to be paid and that Tmcel proposed to pay off the debt at a rate of 12 million Meticais (about US$190, 000) per month.

The report said, “Vodacom promised to study Tmcel’s proposal and that it will make a definitive response to Tmcel’s proposal on Friday (June 18, 2021).”

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