Vodafone Uganda Files for Bankruptcy

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.

Joseph Nderitu
Joseph Nderitu
Joseph Nderitu is a director at Integrated Risk Services Ltd and specializes in revenue assurance. He previously worked as Head of Revenue Assurance and Fraud Management at Vodacom's operation in Tanzania, having previously served in the same role at Vodacom Mozambique.

Before his work with Vodacom, Joseph was an internal audit manager for Airtel, with responsibility that covered their 17 countries in Africa. Whilst at Airtel, Joseph led reviews of the Revenue Assurance, Customer Service and Sales & Marketing functions.

Prior to his stint at Airtel, Joseph was an RA manager at Safaricom in Kenya. He holds an MSc Degree in Information Systems.