wi-tribe is down for days, as we have reported before, and apparently the reason behind such service outage is EDOTCO — a managed network solution provider — that has suspended wi-tribe’s services across the country.
Before we go into details, here’s a brief background on both wi-tribe and EDOTCO.
wi-tribe is offering wireless broadband services in Pakistan since 2009. Until they decided to outsource their network part and sold the passive tower infrastructure to TowerShare that was eventually assigned to EDOTCO.
EDOTCO is a tower-share company that manages and maintains towers, network and other parts of infrastructure for telecom providers against a rent.
This essentially means, telecom companies pay rent to EDOTCO for managing and maintaining their towers and then leave the network part of their business up to EDOTCO to manage.
Jazz also tried selling its 13,000 towers to EDOTCO, but deal was later called off due to regulatory delays.
In a nutshell, EDOTCO was managing wi-tribe’s towers and the entire network part was under EDOTCO’s possession and supervision.
There arose a dispute, that both companies couldn’t resolve and as a result EDOTCO pulled the plug to let wi-tribe’s network go offline across the country.
wi-tribe has alleged EDOTCO for not meeting SLA (service level agreement) and hence blocked their payments. EDOTCO, in response and after trying to recover payments, shut down the network.
Both companies are in a stand-off now, as customer continue to suffer.
Not to be mentioned, PTA is nowhere to be seen yet.
While we can’t be the judge, here’s what both companies are saying:
wi-tribe’s Side of the Story:
EDOTCO Towers has time and again disrupted the network of wi-tribe Pakistan by withholding support services, access to Towers, dismantling, damaging and confiscating essential telecom equipment and even shutting down the power to the Towers, while at the same time demanding full value for such non-existent services.
Each time wi-tribe Pakistan invited EDOTCO Towers to the table to resolve these issues, EDOTCO Towers has insisted on wi-tribe Pakistan reducing its network size and capacity.
However, wi-tribe Pakistan has been adamant to resolve the matters for the long-term provision of services through the Towers and for almost a year attempted to negotiate with EDOTCO Towers on these matters.
Wi-tribe Pakistan was completely caught off-guard when EDOTCO Towers thought COVID-19 pandemic was the perfect opportunity to terminate its negotiations with wi-tribe Pakistan and to apply critical pressure and admit to lies in legal documents or else face the end of its business.
Such a callous attitude in such critical times did not deter wi-tribe Pakistan who continued to seek a middle ground to resolve the matter, while EDOTCO Towers kept shutting down critical Tower Facilities as a malicious and unconscionable pressure tactic.
Eventually, in the month of July 2020 wi-tribe Pakistan was left with no other option but to approach the Courts in the matter, to restrain EDOTCO Towers from shutting down the Tower Facilities and resolve outstanding matters amicably and the Courts agreed by issuing stay orders in wi-tribe Pakistan’s favor.
Time and again the Courts were approached when EDOTCO Towers refused to accept the orders of the Court, even receiving numerous notices in contempt of court proceedings including show causes notices, showing no respect to the legal orders passed by the Courts by the wilful and blatant disregard of the same.
The only response of EDOTCO Towers was to shut down the remaining Towers of wi-tribe Pakistan as a punishment for seeking justice from the Courts, and that is where things stand today.
EDOTCO’s Side of the Story:
edotco is committed to providing the best services we can to all our customers under the respective commercial arrangements, and we regret the current situation with Witribe.
As with all businesses, edotco and Witribe committed to a service agreement which unfortunately, they have not honoured.
We have continued to fulfil our obligations of the agreement meeting all the requirements for the past two years, despite non-payment.
At the same time we have also made all efforts within our capabilities, including engaging with shareholders to discuss how unresolved payments can be made, but unfortunately a positive conclusion cannot be met thus far.
What Does it Mean for Customers?
Well, there’s no resolution to this in sight as customers are going to suffer for the tussle between both the companies. This is a clear lesson for telecom operators (locally and globally) on things not to do with their network, i.e. don’t give it to someone you don’t trust.
Since matter is in court, case is likely to linger for a longer period of time, unless both companies show professionalism and sit on table to resolve the dispute.