Globacom is currently owing MTN Nigeria over N6billion interconnect charges which had remained unsettled over the years. MTN also denied that Globacom had settled its commitments to the network.
A representative of MTN Nigeria disclosed that Globacom had remained a serial debtor of interconnect charges not only to MTN but to other mobile network operators in the country. Investigations also have it that what Globacom does was to quickly settle part of its debts anytime there was an attempt to disconnect its subscribers from other network operators. ‘‘We have taken this matter to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on a number of occasions but NCC will plead on their behalf because of the subscribers that are likely to be negatively affected.
Although Globacom claimed to have paid N1.6 billion from its commitment to MTN, it is not clear if the planned disconnection of Globacm subscribers will go ahead as planned by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
NCC has approved the partial disconnection of Globacom to MTN due to a non-settlement of interconnect charges.
The commission said this in a public notice by Reuben Muoka, the director of public affairs of the commission, on Monday.
The partial disconnection, according to the commission, means that Globacom’s subscribers will no longer be able to make calls to MTN, but will be able to receive calls to the Globacom network. , Glo controls about 28 per cent of the Nigerian telecommunication market.
Following a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding the non-payment of interconnect charges, the NCC concluded that Globacom failed to provide sufficient or justifiable reasons for its outstanding debts.
Engineer Gbenga Adebayo, the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), had expressed worry over the lingering interconnect feud between MTN Nigeria and
Concurrently, the NCC informed Globacom of MTN’s application, allowing Globacom an opportunity to present its case and provide comments.
Adebayo said the issue was of serious concern to members adding that interconnect debt can generate distrust among members and the industry.
According to him, it can destroy growth and slow interconnectivity, “we are concerned. But, again, it is an internal matter that we are trying to find the best way to resolve. It is a serious issue, we are praying it doesn’t escalate beyond reasonable measure.”
On his part, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, the president, the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMs), who welcomed the development, said the challenge around interconnect debt had been on for the past 10 years.
Ogunbanjo sees no reason why Globacom shouldn’t have paid the money as and when due, stressing that these are revenues collected upfront even before calls are made.
“This is a good development so that no one stifles the other from existence. I believe it will serve other operators a lesson too. The interconnect debt has been a debilitating disease in the sector. An operator collects money upfront and refuses to remit when it is supposed to. I think that is bad,” he said.