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ATC, Telecel Ghana at loggerheads over payment disputes

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Network tower provider American Tower Corporation Ghana (ATC Ghana) has suspended power supply to operator Telecel Ghana's power network equipment due to the latter not fulfilling its payment obligations.

ATC Ghana said residents and business users on the Telecel network may experience network disruptions due to the interruption of power supply. It claimed it does not have enough capacity to continue supplying Telecel after the operator's failure to "satisfy its agreed obligations."

"This unfortunate decision has been taken following extensive negotiations with Telecel and notification of the National Communication Authority (NCA)," ATC Ghana said.

"Not meeting the agreed obligations is such that ATC Ghana no longer has the capacity to purchase electricity and diesel to service Telecel's equipment, particularly where its agreements with Telecel have expired," the company explained.

Telecel Ghana responds

In a scathing response, Telecel Ghana denied ATC Ghana's claims, labeling its accusations as utterly false, and threatened legal action.

"The issue has been escalated to the regulator and it is receiving the required attention. Telecel Ghana is committed to its contractual obligations and assures its subscribers that it will take all measures to ensure service continuity," Telecel Ghana continued.

"Telecel Ghana reserves the right to use all lawful means to protect its brand and claim damages it will suffer as a result of the publications and any unlawful actions taken by ATC Ghana," the telco warned.

Telecel Ghana has denied ATC Ghana's claims, labeling its accusations as utterly false, and threatening legal action.   (Source: Image by ASphotofamily on Freepik)
Telecel Ghana has denied ATC Ghana's claims, labeling its accusations as utterly false, and threatening legal action.
(Source: Image by ASphotofamily on Freepik)

Telecel Ghana fully rebranded from Vodafone Ghana in February this year. The rebrand came after the Group acquired a 70% stake in Vodafone Ghana (Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited GTCL) in February 2023.

ATC Ghana's decision could have detrimental effects on Telecel, which has been working toward cementing its grip on the Ghanaian market.

Telecel is the second-biggest operator in Ghana, but its subscriber base of around 8.9 million mobile users at the end of March 2024 was far behind market leader MTN Ghana's 27.8 million customers, according to data from Omdia.

In October 2023, Telecel Ghana expanded its network infrastructure by adding 300 new 4G sites and introduced 4G+ to offer even faster speeds.

ATC African dealings

This is not the first time ATC has shut down its towers for non-payment on the African continent. The company disconnected government-owned Telkom Kenya from its tower infrastructure for failing to pay site leasing fees in September 2023.

Follow Connecting Africa on our new X account @connect__africa to get the latest telecoms and tech news across Africa.

However, ATC has also been making deals and in November 2023, signed a deal with MTN Nigeria to take over the provision of tower services from 2025.

Headquartered in Boston in the US, ATC has an African portfolio that includes towers in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Image by wirestock on Freepik.

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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