SMILE DEBUNKS AMERICAN TOWER COMPANY’S DENIAL
Smile Communications Uganda Limited has made it clear that it is not disposed to join issues with ATC (American Tower Corporation) Africa tepid denial that its actions to disconnect the carrier’s Uganda 4G LTE network were illegal.
ATC Uganda had contended thus: “We can confirm that ATC Uganda adheres, in all matters, to the law, and that we will not hesitate to pursue legal action in response to baseless attacks on our reputation,” Evidently, recent facts and court ruling negate the ATC claim.Indeed, Smile apparently feels vindicated that the High Court (Commercial Division) Judge, Hon Justice Stephen Mubiru had earlier set aside an arbitral award of USD1,251,916.08 (UGX5,623,025,394.8) and UGX954,372,437.77) awarded to tower companies ATC Uganda Limited and Eaton Towers Uganda Limited against Smile Communications Uganda Limited.
In his 11th April 2023 ruling, the Hon. Justice Stephen Mubiru agreed with Smile Communications lawyers, that the arbitral award had been made out of the stipulated time and that the arbitrator had exhibited partiality.
“The award is bad in law and contrary to the agreed terms by which the parties, as well as the Arbitrator, are bound, it having been handed down by the Arbitrator after effluxion of the greed period, and it is also vitiated by a reasonable apprehension of partiality on the part of the arbitrator,” ruled Justice Mubiru.“For these two reasons, the award is hereby set aside with costs to the applicant (Smile Communications,” ruled the judge. Invariably, the ATC recent claim that
“while we do not comment on ongoing litigation matters, we can confirm that as a neutral telecommunications infrastructure host, we are deeply committed to the success of all our customers, working with them on mutually agreed terms to support their expansion and regulatory obligations in Uganda,” has been pooh-hoed by industry watchers who are quick to point at the menacing monopoly ATC Africa has hoisted on the Ugandan Telecommunications Market.On its part, Smile Communications Uganda Limited has reiterated its commitment to continually serve the best interest of its customers. It noted that its customers are valued and remain the bedrock of its business. The company, again, regretted the recent disruption of its services and attendant inconvenience its customers suffered. It re-emphasized its adherence to best business ethos and practices and assured its stakeholders that legitimate steps would be taken to guard against a recurrence of any illegal disruption of its services in the future