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Smart Telecom Plunged into Crisis Due to Unpaid Debts


04/10/2006

A small Irish telephone provider by the name of Smart Telecom has been plunged into a state of limbo this week, with the country`s leading communications carrier, Eircom, withdrawing the company`s right to resell fixed-line services.

Smart Telecom reportedly owes over 4 million (US$5.1 million) to Eircom in unpaid fixed-line lease charges, which have been mounting up since May 2005. The reseller`s 40,000 telephone customers, most of whom live in the Dublin area, can no longer make calls except to emergency services. Incoming calls will be cut off next Monday if Smart fails to reach a debt settlement with its larger rival.

Smart was formed a number of years ago, after Eircom was privatized, and the Irish government gave up its monopoly of the telecommunications market. The company has failed to make much market headway, however, reporting net losses of 21 million (US$26.5 million) for last year. It is currently being kept alive by continual cash infusions by its largest shareholder, Brendan Murtagh.

Executives with Smart Telecom are trying to be optimistic about the company`s financial problems, but admit that there are no guarantees.

“The board remains confident that this funding will be obtained (from shareholders),” Smart Telecom said in a statement. “However, there is no certainty that this will happen.”



 

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