HomeLocal NewsEconet, NetOne war rages

Econet, NetOne war rages

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HIGH Court judge Justice Ben Hlatshwayo yesterday reserved judgment in a matter pitting two of the country’s mobile network providers, Econet Wireless and State-owned NetOne, who are entangled in a reconnection saga.Report by Charles Laiton, Senior Court Reporter

On more than two occasions this year, Econet Wireless switched off NetOne in a bid to force them to settle a $19 million debt, but the two firms later reportedly agreed on reconnection through a provisional truce.

Both parties presented their arguments before Justice Hlatshwayo in his chambers, spending more than two and a half hours deliberating on the matter.

NetOne, which was represented by Advocate Ray Goba, made an application for an interdict seeking to bar Econet Wireless from disconnecting it.

NetOne accused its competitor of resorting to “self-help actions” without seeking recourse from authorities on a proper way forward.

Goba argued that according to the country’s laws, once connection had been established, no disconnection was allowed.
He said his client had not refused to pay the debt, but simply disputed the calculations that gave rise to the claimed amount.

However, Econet Wireless’s lawyer Advocate Firoz Girach argued that NetOne had repudiated the initial agreement allowing connection between the two firms after the former sought to recover its dues.

Girach said Econet Wireless would still maintain its stance on disconnecting NetOne, accusing their rival of intending to continuously enjoy the benefits of its services without paying for them.

“We want to disconnect them because they do not want to pay. They cannot cry foul because it would be grossly unfair to continue using our services without paying for them,” Girach said.

He said Econet would not continue to suffer and offer services for free out of fear of inconveniencing the public.
He accused NetOne of failing to take amicable avenues to resolve the matter.

Girach said instead NetOne challenged his client arguing it owed nothing since there was no interconnection agreement between the two firms.

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