NCC Halts MTN-Glo Disconnection Over Interconnect Debt

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that it has suspended the planned disconnection of Globacom subscribers from making calls to MTN lines over the non-payment of interconnect charges by Globacom.

Interconnect charges are fees that telecom operators pay each other for terminating calls on their networks. Globacom had reportedly accumulated a huge debt to MTN over the years, which led to MTN seeking the NCC’s approval to disconnect Globacom.

The NCC had earlier issued a Pre-Disconnection Notice on January 8, 2024, stating that Globacom had failed to justify its non-payment of the interconnect charges and that MTN had the right to disconnect Globacom subscribers from January 18, 2024.

The notice also said that Globacom subscribers would still be able to receive calls from MTN lines.

“Globacom was notified of the application made by MTN and was given the opportunity to comment and state its case.

“The Commission, having examined the application and circumstances surrounding the indebtedness, determined that Globacom does not have sufficient or justifiable reason for non-payment of the interconnect charges,” .

The NCC revealed that at the expiration of 10 days from the date of this notice, “subscribers of Globacom will no longer be able to make calls to MTN but will be able to receive calls.”

However, in a statement released on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, the NCC said that it had put the disconnection on hold for 21 days, following the agreement reached by MTN and Globacom to settle their dispute. The NCC said that it had intervened in the matter to protect the interests of consumers and ensure the smooth operation of the telecom sector.

The NCC also warned that all telecom operators must pay their interconnect debts as part of their regulatory obligations and abide by the terms and conditions of their licenses, including their interconnection agreements. The NCC said that it would not tolerate any breach of the rules and regulations governing the telecom industry.

“On January 8, 2024, the Nigerian Communications Commission published a Pre-Disconnection Notice informing subscribers of the approval granted to MTN Nigerian Communications Plc. (MTN) to commence the phased disconnection of Globacom Limited (Glo) with effect from January 18, 2024, due to a long-standing interconnection debt dispute between the parties.

“In granting the approval, the Commission was deeply conscious of the potential impacts of the decision on consumers and therefore continued to engage both parties to facilitate a resolution which prioritizes and protects consumer interest and the seamless operation of the national telecoms network.

“The Commission is pleased to announce that the parties have now reached agreement to resolve all outstanding issues between them. For this reason, and in 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, 17 January 2024.

 “While 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.”

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