SPTC switches off One, Fixeddfones
MBABANE — The Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) will today begin switching off its ONE mobile service.
The process of deactivating the ONE mobile service is expected to take up to 14 days.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by SPTC management yesterday afternoon.
This comes three days after the confirmation of a ruling made by the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) in the longstanding battle between Swazi MTN and SPTC.
Swazi MTN took SPTC to court for breaching the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the two parties when the latter sought to introduce a mobile component to its services which would compete with Swazi MTN products and services.
SPTC is a shareholder at Swazi MTN with a shareholding of 41 per cent. Swazi MTN took SPTC to court in 2010 soon after the latter introduced its mobile components which included ONE mobile phones and Fixedfones.
The matter between these two communications powerhouses went through a lengthy court battle which culminated with a Supreme Court ruling in favour of Swazi MTN and ordered that the matter be referred to arbitration.
The ICA sat in the country earlier this year and it also upheld the Supreme Court’s ruling that SPTC had breached the JVA and it ordered SPTC to switch off all its mobile components. The ruling, however, had to be endorsed at the ICA in Europe.
On Monday both SPTC and Swazi MTN were informed that the ICA had endorsed the ruling.
The statement released by SPTC yesterday marks the first step towards implementing the ruling.
"Pursuant to an award of ICA issued on the 4th August 2012, directing SPTC to terminate the mobile component of any telephony network and service by it in competition with the business of the Joint Venture, SPTC wishes to inform the general public and valued customers of its decision to discontinue the ONE mobile service," the statement said.
SPTC also notified customers that the roaming capability previously available in the network has been terminated.
"The corporation wishes to further advise the public that it will cease to sell the ONE branded airtime vouchers. However, other airtime vouchers will continue to be sold by SPTC for use on our products," SPTC said.
According to SPTC’s 2011 annual report, there were about 12 000 customers who were connected to the SPTC wireless network when it was stopped. The corporation assured customers that it would continue in its endeavour to provide the best quality service and products.
SPTC apologised for any inconvenience that could be caused by the development. The corporation advised customers owning ONE mobile phones to call 800 2000 or visit the nearest Telecentres for further details. SPTC said it would find alternative services to compensate affected customers.
SPTC to compensate MTN
MBABANE — SPTC is set to compensate MTN for damages caused by sale of its mobile products.
The amount of the compensation will be determined next month.
According to well placed sources, the compensation was supposed to be decided this week but SPTC requested a postponement to September 14. In a statement issued by MTN yesterday afternoon, the company said SPTC was supposed to terminate its mobile component and stop advertising or promoting or canvassing subscribers and other potential users.
"We would like to inform customers and stakeholders that the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) has since issued the Partial Award on the issue of conflict of interest arising from SPTC launching and operating a mobile telephony service in violation of the JVA," reads the statement.
MTN said SPTC should stop all these as long as it was shareholder of the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA).
"In the same award, SPTC has been found liable to pay damages to MTN in such amount to be determined at the second hearing in the arbitration," the statement continued. MTN said it would not reveal the amount of the damages which SPTC was supposed to compensate them with. MTN assured customers that it was committed to providing mobile telecommunication service which was competitive with regional and international standards.
- SPTC saw this coming, the gvt saw this coming yet they continued to fold their hands. why did not the gvt appoint Communications regulator and relieve SPTC of the burden, why did the gvt not take the shares owned by SPTC in MTN to allow SPTC to challenge the price monopoly of MTN. if you go to Tanzania, wireless internet is so cheap that your jaw drops, around the corner in South Africa cell C sells 2gig for just 99 rands and MTN fight to be the only player selling 2.5 gig for 650 my foot! cry my beloved adopted country. i saw it coming just wondering whether the powers that be never saw it coming!!!!!
December 8, 2011, 9:00 am, tawanda (email@example.com)
- the consumer is the victim.sptc had given a much needed relief to the consumer in the communication world, but unfortunatel it has ha to be shortlived due to the mighty being able to bull-doze their way into forcing us wih their costly service musc to our helpless desperate plea.Can someone come to the rescue of the helpless consumer please...
December 8, 2011, 9:00 am, sibusiso (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- i'm a herbalist & have benefited from both service providers. MTN Swaziland s'thandwa sami, will you please consider a merger with ONE =( ONE MTN MOBILE). am not fighting a court decision here. had time permitted, i would have advocated for our government to make provisions to have terms that allowed for public interest & employment to be considered in the MTNSPTC battle & to have set terms for foreign transactions in accordance with competition laws so that local businesses would not be displaced by imports. am not saying MTN Swaziland is foreign . am in support of foreign investment only when it benefits us Swazis. am familiar and still living with the pain of losing a job. Lord; how are all these families going to cope! Hawu Nkhosi ngebantfwabe maSwati!
December 8, 2011, 9:00 am, mrs. buyisile lungile mabuza (email@example.com)
- I am very dissapointed in the sudden twist of events,just when we were enjoying the wide choice of communications products,now this.I hope SPTC will come up with a way of compensation because what are we gonna do with these useless gadgets.....#sadface#
December 8, 2011, 9:01 am, ncobile matsenjwa (firstname.lastname@example.org
- Is there legislation that specifically disallows another entity providing mobile services? If not SPTC should dispose of its mobile component business by offering it to the public via the stock exchange. There should be a limit on how many shares each person may subscribe to. This will transfer cash into SPTC and ownership in to the public. If legislation is a challenge, we need to push our MPs towards getting this sorted. The ruling is fair, however we need to move beyond this. From what I understand, SPTC basically learnt how to run a mobile complany from MTN, without incurring the costs associated with acquring such knowledge. Its like letting a classmate write a research paper on your computer, then correcting his/her errors and submitting it for examination as if its your own. Knowing very well you have made tweaks here and there. I am no fan of MTN, but lets compete fair.
December 8, 2011, 9:01 am, Siphe Dlamini (email@example.com)
- This is a kingdom, MTN can not rule us in our own land, SPTC is a parastatal purely owned by gvt so may His majesty make a ruling on this issue. I know many will say the outside world will frown on Swaziland it doesn't matter they frowned on us long time ago in many cases e.g human rights etc. Bayethe wena waphakathi bhodla kube kanye the rest will follow.
December 8, 2011, 9:01 am, Kingdom (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Govt folded it's arms and watched it's E500 plus million investment crash & burn due the the known greedy MTN shareholders. As for solving economic whoes they shld kiss the economy good bye as it will collapse with SPTC as well. Under whose watch did SPTC collapse?! Those are questions future generations will be asked. God forgive the Swazi Tax payer as he now finances MTN the multinational telco. *SAD DAY FOR TAX PAYER*
December 8, 2011, 9:01 am, SPTC ONe (email@example.com)
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