The internet service provider wi-tribe is in a payments dispute with the company that provides its towers edotco which has terminated its connection.


Both companies had not reverted with comment till the filing of this report, but in off-the-record discussions with executives as well as an official from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Dawn has learnt that unpaid dues to edotco are at the centre of the wi-tribe’s service disruption. At present there are no details on the amount involved, nor on how long it has been outstanding.

Wi-tribe has acknowledged customer complaints and a message has been posted at its website regretting the interruption in services due to some ‘technical issues’.

“Breakdown in network wi-tribe Pakistan Ltd — dear valued wi-tribe users, we apologise for the interruption in service on user accounts due to some technical issue. wi-tribe technical teams are working to restore services as early as possible,” the message reads.

“This is not a routine business and these are not normal days,” a senior manager at wi-tribe told Dawn on condition of anonymity. He was referring to the decision by edotco to terminate service for wi-tribe.

“Internet is a lifeline for many nowadays and due to lockdowns shifting to other networks is also not easy,” he says. “It is unethical business practice.” edotco has around 700 towers and managed sites across Pakistan and manages all the towers for the broadband service for wi-tribe.

Wi-tribe was launched in Pakistan in July 2009 by Qatar-based Ooredoo QSC which sold the stakes of its subsidiary Wi Tribe Pakistan to HB Offshore Investment Ltd for around 32.7 million Qatri riyals in March 2016.

However, the customer base of company has been withered since then. There were 207,000 WiMAX users in Pakistan at the end of December 2015, just before its sale to the incumbent management. By July 2019 that figure had dropped to 26,512 and today it has further dropped to 16,245 by the end of May 2020.

This news was originally published at dawn.com