CAIRO: Telecom Egypt wants Mobinil to pay LE 2 billion ($364.4 million) as part of a contract dispute, but the mobile firm will not pay unless arbitrators say it must, Mobinil said on Sunday.
Mobinil in September filed an arbitration suit against fixed-line monopoly Telecom Egypt, asking it to stick to old interconnection fees – the rates charged for calls between mobiles and fixed-line phones – after a regulator ruled the fees should be lowered.
Telecom Egypt then filed a counterparty claim that said the mobile firm owed it LE 2 billion related to the dispute, Mobinil s Vice President of Finance Khalid Ellaicy told Reuters.
Asked whether Mobinil intended to pay that amount, Ellaicy said: No, absolutely not. Not any time soon.
That would mean we lost the arbitration and that the arbitration committee held that there was a basis and a calculation behind the LE 2 billion, which we do not believe at all, he added.
Telecom Egypt said it had no comment.
Mobinil, Egypt s biggest mobile operator by subscribers, mentioned a claim by Telecom Egypt in its third quarter 2009 financial statement, but did not say how much the fixed-line firm had asked for.
A dispute over interconnection fees broke out between Telecom Egypt and mobile firms Mobinil and Vodafone more than two years ago, after Telecom Egypt said the rates were making it less competitive.
In September 2008, the regulator ruled the rates should be lowered.
Mobinil appealed the decision and has been recording its interconnection revenue and costs based on the old rates. -Reuters