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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mtel may take NITEL to court over link cut

REMMY NWEKE, in Abuja

Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTel) may soon take its parent company, the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) to court over its inability to deliver its part of the bargain in facilitating the kind of quality of service (QoS) due to some of its link have been cutted by Globacom and MTN Nigeria.

Chief executive, Mtel, Mr. Edwin Moore Momife disclosed this Tuesday at a strategic session at the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) Africa Association conference and exhibition holding in Abuja.

He recalled that at the formation of Mtel it was agreed that Mtel, which is the GSM arm of NITEL should anchor on NITEL infrastructure to deliver prompt and quality services to subscribers.

Mtel he said, has commenced a legal suit against NTEL to claim damages over what he described as cut of its links by MTN and Glo while installing their own infrastructure.

Mr. Momife lamented that this promise is being jeopardized because the Second National Operator (SNO) Globacom and MTN Nigeria destroyed NITEL’s fibre optic in the process.

This, he said, has affected the growth of Mtel immensely, hence Mtel is contemplating taking NITEL to court so as to prompt the first national operator to be proactive by taking action on its infrastructure destroyed by these operators or take them to court for appropriate measures to be meted on them by the regulatory authorities.

Pointing out that this disruption has forced Mtel to rethink by evolving a new way of carrying its tariff, especially as some areas affected.

Despite all these, Mr. Momife said that there is hope for Mtel as his administration is trying all it could to reposition the telco for sale as its mandate stipulated, mostly since the sacking of the Dutch Management Contractors, Pentascope.

He also said that Mtel has grown its subscriber-base to 1.2 million currently and that anybody buying Mtel as of today would not buy it along with mere 1.2m but about 4 million potential subscribers on its network.

Although government still has 100 per cent share of Mtel, he stressed that its infrastructure value has gone beyond that figure.

“However, there are some good news,” he declared, pointing out that since he took over the management last year, “there have been some improvement on the network offering” even as Ericsson has been engaged to expand its brand.

There are also some switches commissioned three years ago, yet it have not offered any service because of this link cut, he noted.

Expressing optimism over the future of Mtel, he said, some of the handicapped mentioned above affected its vowed marketing strategy, thus it was suspended.

Additionally, he said, there are 840 base stations and soft switches to help in overcoming transmission hiccups.

“We are in a race but hopes to get the great bride (Mtel) ready soon” Momife said.

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