By Favour Unukaso
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that MTN and Globacom have reached an agreement to resolve the interconnect debt issue, over which the former was to disconnect the latter.
This came as the 10-day pre-disconnection notice issued by the Commission lapsed today.
However, NCC in a statement signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Mouka, Thursday, noted that the disconnection is only ‘put on hold’ for 21 days starting from January 17th, 2024. Within this period, the debt issue is expected to have been completely resolved.
Recall that the telecoms regulator had last week approved a partial disconnection of Globacom by MTN over its refusal to pay interconnect debt.
The development then was to see MTN partially disconnection Glo network from its network as instructed by the telecoms regulator. It would mean that Globacom’s subscribers will not be able to make calls to any MTN number.
However, Glo customers can receive inbound calls from MTN customers.
Muoka, said: “The Commission is pleased to announce that the parties have now reached an agreement to resolve all outstanding issues between them. For this reason, and in the exercise of its regulatory powers in that regard, the Commission has put the phased disconnection on hold for a period of 21 (twenty-one) days from today, January 17, 2024.
“Whilst the Commission expects MTN and Glo to resolve all outstanding issues within the 21-day period, the Commission insists that interconnect debts must be settled by all operating companies as a necessary component towards compliance with regulatory obligations of all licensees. It is OBLIGATORY that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and other licensees in the telecom industry keep to the terms and conditions of their licenses, especially as contained in their interconnection agreements.”
Recall that as of 2020, the former Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, who described interconnect debt as “a big challenge” in the industry, put the debt figure at over N70 billion, noting that this has been threatening the operators’ capacity to expand their infrastructure for better quality service.