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NCC To Bar Glo Customers From Calling MTN

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC says it will soon bar Globacom customers from making calls to MTN lines soon due to alleged non-settlement of interconnect charges.

The NCC disclosed this on Monday in a public notice signed by the Director, Public Affairs Department, Reuben Muoka. It stated that it granted partial approval for the disconnection of Globacom from MTN Nigeria Communications Plc.

There were 61.39 mobile subscriptions on Glo’s network as of the end of August 2023. According to the new NCC notice, these lines will not be able to make calls to MTN lines from January 18, 2024.

It said, “The commission has approved the partial disconnection of Globacom to MTN in accordance with Section 100 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 and Paragraph 9 of the guidelines on procedure for granting approval to disconnect telecommunications operators, 2012.

“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.

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“The partial disconnection, however, will allow in-bound calls to Globacom network.” It noted that the disconnection will subsist until otherwise determined by the commission.

This is not the first time Glo subscribers will be disconnected from making calls to MTN over the same issue. In 2019, MTN, acting upon a directive from the NCC, briefly disconnected Glo subscribers over a N4bn debt.

In December 2018, the telecom regulator approved mobile network operators to disconnect other operators over rising interconnect debts and the failure of the affected operators to pay. The total interconnect fee in the industry at the time was about N165bn.

Interconnect charge is the price that telecom operators pay each other for calls terminating on their networks.

While the company is yet to release any official communications, sources close to Glo who spoke anonymously said the telco firm had settled its account with MTN.

“We paid last week Thursday within the window allowed. So, it is surprising that this is happening. We made outstanding payments already,” one source said.

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However, a source in MTN said the company had yet to receive the payment.

“We are not going to issue any statement on this. They may have paid but it is not everything they have paid,” the MTN source said.

Due to the sensitivity of the matter industry experts are choosing to pay attention to how events unfold, however, one expert, who did not want their name in print, stated that only MTN and Glo could resolve this protracted issue.

The expert said, “It has been on for so long because it is a commercial issue. It is dicey for anyone to dabble into it. The only people that can resolve it are the parties involved. The regulator is technically handicapped when it comes to this. The only thing they can do is issue directives.”

On his part, the President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, stated that it is important for telcos to not owe each other.

He said, “We are in support of NCC for doing this.” He however noted, “This is set to impact subscribers because people with Glo lines won’t be able to call MTN friends, businesses, and more.”

Source:  Punch

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