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Glo pays MTN N3.1 billion interconnect debt

For five days, MTN had cut off calls from Globacom network as a result of disputed indebtedness to the tune of about N4.5 billion.

Globacom was said to have shown willingness to defray the debt with the payment of N2.6 billion on Thursday, considered substantial by MTN to call off its hard stance against Glo subscribers.

Very reliable source familiar with the MTN-Glo relationship confirmed to us that so far, Globacom had paid MTN a total of N3.1 billion.

“Yes, I can confirm to you that N2.6 billion was paid to MTN, Thursday (yesterday). A N500 million had been paid earlier, so if you sum it up that will be N3.1 billion.

“Another N800 million remains in contention and presently before the courts,” our source revealed.

Our source responded emphatically that the issue was being resolved, making reference to the seamless connection between us on the two networks.

Stakeholders, particularly the regulator, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) had weighed into the dispute on the interconnect debt estimated to avert further breakdown in mobile communication between MTN and Globacom network users.

As of December, 2018, the interconnect debt in the telecoms industry stood at N165bn.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued by the NCC on Thursday, the commission called on debtor operators in the industry to promptly settle interconnect debts owed their creditor networks to prevent possible revenue loss and customer flight from their networks to competitors.

The commission assured the 174 million telecoms consumers of their protection against any service disruption.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the regulatory body was committed to ensuring customers enjoy uninterrupted service while efforts were being made to address the issue of indebtedness in the industry.

Danbatta stated that the issue of interconnection was a matter that the commission was handling delicately within the purview of the regulatory provisions to protect consumers by ensuring that their quality of experience was not acutely affected.

The EVC recalled that the regulatory approval on permission for disconnection was granted to creditor networks late last year, as a last resort towards resolving the huge interconnection debts threatening the health and sustainability of the industry.

“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,” he said.

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