Two of Mozambique's mobile phone operators, TMcel and Vodacom, met in Maputo on Tuesday, under the mediation of the regulator, the Mozambique National Communications Institute (INCM), in an attempt to prevent Vodacom from denying TMcel subscribers access to the Vodacom network.
The meeting was in response to a Vodacom press release earlier in the day which threatened to end Vodacom's interconnection with the publicly owned company TMcel as from Thursday, which would make it impossible for TMcel subscribers to ring Vodacom numbers.
Vodacom said it was forced to take this draconian action because of a large debt run up by TMcel. It claimed the debt stands at 640 million meticais (about 10.2 million US dollars, at current exchange rates), arising from TMcel's alleged failure to comply with the interconnection contract between the two companies.
Speaking to reporters after the Tuesday meeting, the General Director of the INCM, Tuaha Mote, said there would be no interruption in the interconnection on Thursday, and the services provided by the two companies would continue to flow normally.
He said that Vodacom, TMcel and the INCM are working together to overcome the dispute between the two operators.
"It should be clarified that this is basically a commercial dispute between the two companies, and the INCM is entering merely to mediate in the negotiations", said Mote. "We think the understanding reached today will be decisive for the definitive solution of the differences".
He added that, during the meeting, TMcel promised to honour its undertakings with Vodacom.
Mote's optimism hides the fact that there is still no agreement on how the debt is to be paid. According to a report in Wednesday's issue of the independent newssheet "Mediafax", TMcel offered to pay off the debt at the rate of 12 million meticais a month.
Although Vodacom said it will study the TMcel proposal, it was already clear that Vodacom wants TMcel to pay off a third of the debt (i.e. over 200 million meticais) by Friday. The rest should then be paid off regularly every quarter.
Vodacom said it will make a definitive response to the TMcel proposal on Friday.
Copyright Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com)., source News Service English