DIGICEL mobile services are now unavailable in areas like Aroma, Kupiano, Upulima, Manan, Dom, Bomguina, Moregaina, Lalaura and Leuono because its transmission tower 113 has been vandalised.
The vandalism is believed to be due to disputes over the land use by customary landowners.
The “legitimate” landowners claim they had not been paid for the last three years, forcing them to shut down the tower.
Principal landowner Umu Amo said Digicel had not paid him over the last three years.
However, Digicel chief executive officer John Mangos said Digicel entered an agreement with a group of landowners prior to the construction of the tower.
Subsequently, the land ownership was disputed and referred to the local landowner court and ownership was awarded to Mr Amo.
Demands of a payment of K2 million were refused by Digicel and the court order regarding this payment had
been set aside by the court on Jan 26.
“We have attempted in good faith to negotiate for the use of the land. However, during negotiations with the new landowners, the tower has been continually vandalised with the cables cut and equipment stolen,” Mr Mangos said.
“Digicel remains willing to negotiate but is currently mobilising to remove all its equipment to ensure the supply of mobile services to other areas such as Kupiano.
“We are also looking at legal options with regard to losses suffered due to the vandalism,” he said.