MTN Receives N2.6 billion Interconnection Debt from GLO

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Globacom has paid the interconnection debt it owed MTN Nigeria after its network was disconnected for five days. The disconnection affected about 46.6 million subscribers of both network providers.

Prior to the disconnection, the debt burden and the accrued interest had risen to N4.4 billion, out of which Globacom only paid the sum of N500 million.

According to a recent report, Globacom has now made a payment of N2.6 billion. Before this, it was revealed that both parties were drafting the modalities of the payment. Consequent upon this, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged debtor operators to pay up their debts to avoid disconnection of services by competitors.

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While defending the approval it gave MTN to disconnect incoming calls from Glo subscribers, NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Umar Danbatta, stated that the decision was the last resort. This means that other methods had been employed in an attempt to recover the debt from Globacom but nothing came out of it.

Though the Commission granted approval to the MTN’s request to disconnect debtor networks from its network in line with Section 100 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, the Guidelines on Procedure for Granting Approval to Disconnect Telecommunications Operators, 2012 and other regulatory instruments, what is happening now is that the creditor networks are restricting certain services to their debtor networks in form of one-way disconnection.

“It is one-way disconnection because, as a regulator, we prevented total disconnection; not doing that would be frustrating for the consumers. So, we have ensured that subscribers on the affected debtor networks are able to receive calls and text messages from creditor networks. This means they might not be able to make seamless calls or send text messages to the creditor’s network at all times because of restriction of access to debtor networks, pending when satisfactory payment plans are reached with respect to the interconnect indebtedness. This is to prevent further accumulation of interconnect debt by the debtor networks.”

NCC expressed displeasure over the disconnection, stating that customers of network providers deserve uninterrupted service paid for, warning debtors not to default in the payment of interconnection fee as it could cause them loss of subscribers and revenue.

Samson Oyedeyi

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