Court orders MTN to pay $622,000 over contractual dispute

With about 11.7 million subscribers, MTN Uganda is the east African country's leading telecoms company, in an industry of some seven players.

Bystanders walk past an outlet of South Africa's MTN Group in downtown Cape Town, November 10, 2015.   REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

A court in Uganda has ordered South African telecoms giant MTN Group to pay $622,000 to a smaller industry rival that accused it of using a dominant position to stifle its business.

With about 11.7 million subscribers, MTN Uganda is the east African country's leading telecoms company, in an industry of some seven players.

MTN terminated a data transmission contract with Ezeemoney, a mobile money firm, in 2013, saying it was a direct competitor.

"The court found that MTN's conduct was unlawful and caused loss by unlawful means and awarded Ezeemoney general and punitive damages," said David Mpanga, a lawyer for Ezeemoney.

MTN acknowledged losing the case against Ezeemoney in a verdict delivered by Uganda's High Court on Nov. 6, but said it was appealing the verdict.

The order comes after the Nigerian Communication Commission last month imposed a $5.2 billion fine on MTN for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM cards.

MTN has been in talks with regulators in Nigeria in bid for leniency but the NCC said on Monday it would not reduce the fine.

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