Customers of Ugandan operator Smile Communications have reportedly been unable to access its services for several days.
The operator acknowledged the shutdown in its last Twitter post, dated 2nd February, in which it said there was no “definite timeline” for resuming its operations. Local outlet Techjaja reports that customers are not happy, with many calling for the telco to close if it is unable to resume its services promptly.
Business Day has reported that the operator’s Mauritius-based parent Smile Telecoms Holdings has scrambled to secure funding, having thus far stumped up ZAR550 million (US$35.5 million). In April 2021, the parent firm’s creditors approved a debt restructuring plan that allowed it to defer repayment of its debts until March 2022.
Smile has experienced outages before, with its services going offline for three days in 2018 over a financial dispute with its hosting tower companies. The group was established in 2007 and delivers mobile and broadband services in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria and Tanzania in addition to Uganda.
CommsUpdate notes that several operators have exited the Ugandan market over the past few years – most notably Africell, which prior to its departure held third place in a market where MTN and Airtel hold an effective duopoly.