Wireless Business Solutions (WBS), the holding company of iBurst and Broadlink, has been ordered by the high court in Johannesburg to pay Vodacom more than R40m in interconnection fees.
The court handed down the judgment in September (it has not been reported on in the media until now), ordering WBS to pay Vodacom R41,5m plus interest, and to pay the mobile operator’s legal costs.
The agreement between the parties was entered into before the acquisition of WBS by Multisource — a company backed by former top bankers Michael Jordaan and Paul Harris — and before a change of management at the company. Management regards the case as a “legacy issue”.
In terms the agreement, which was signed on 23 July 2013, WBS would deliver “commercial short messages” originating on WBS’s network to Vodacom’s network.
Vodacom was entitled to charge a “short message interconnection fee” for this service at agreed rates, the court explained in the judgment. Vodacom claimed payment of the R41,5m from WBS by way of interconnection fees in the period October 2013 to May 2014.
The judgment said WBS did not dispute that it used the services of Vodacom to deliver commercial short messages. Nor did it dispute the number of such messages delivered by Vodacom or the amount Vodacom claimed was due in this regard.
Instead, WBS argued on technical grounds why the claim by Vodacom should be set aside, but its arguments were not accepted by the court.
In June 2014, reports emerged that MTN South Africa had terminated services to WBS over non-payment for the transmission and termination of SMSes on MTN’s network. There was, however, reportedly no binding agreement between the two companies. — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media