Vodafone Uganda, owned by Afrimax Group, has thrown in the towel under the weight of debt. The High Court of Uganda has already appointed a provisional administrator.
In November 2014 Vodafone Group entered into a non-equity partner market agreement with pan-African operator Afrimax Group to relaunch Afrimax Uganda as Vodafone Uganda. The partnership serves residential and business customers in much of greater Kampala and Entebbe. The Ugandan operation is wholly-owned by Afrimax.
Vodafone’s woes appear to have come from a supplier relationship that went very bad and has spiraled out of control:
Eaton is a tower company that provides telecom operators with mobile infrastructural services. The company has had a long standing dispute with Vodafone over unpaid dues according to [Uganda Communications Commission] UCC. As mechanism to force the troubled company to pay its debt, Eaton moved to shut down some of Vodafone sites in the different parts of the country.
It is not surprising that the company has also struggled to offer services. The article quotes a previous statement from Vodafone in which Vodafone sought to apologize to customers.
Vodafone would like to apologise to its customers for the deterioration in the quality of our service. We cannot immediately ascertain how long these challenges will persist, but are working closely with our partners to restore these sites back to full service
Roughly 3 years down the line (under quick succession of three different Managing Directors), the going simply got too tough.
This is yet one more reminder that effective management of suppliers/partners is key. Failure to do can result in a (very early) knockout.