… Permanently Lifts Disconnection Notice
Following the expiration of the 21-day ultimatum issued by the nation’s telecom regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), for the resolution of the interconnect debt issue between telecom giants MTN Nigeria and Globacom on January 17, 2024, the Commission has announced the withdrawal of disconnection approval granted to MTN due to amicable resolution of the dispute between the two parties.
In a statement issued on Thursday, and signed by the Commission’s Director, Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka, the NCC noted that it facilitated the reconciliation process in a bid to ensure that subscribers do not suffer service disruptions due to the disagreement between the telecom operators.
The statement read in part: “Following its initial Public Notice, the Commission, with the aim of mitigating any potential disruptions to subscribers, undertook further regulatory intervention, by mediating between the parties and facilitating the reconciliation process.”
It will be recalled that the NCC had earlier granted MTN the power to disconnect Globacom subscribers from its network following allegations of indebtedness. But in a swift intervention, the Commission issued a warning to all telecom operators over debt servicing, using it as a platform to further mediate between the disagreeing parties. In a statement that further gave them time to resolve their dispute, the Commission had noted: “The warning is coming on the heels of the Commission’s intervention in the interconnect impasse between telecom giants MTN Nigeria and Globacom Limited, even as the NCC announced the temporary lifting of a disconnection notice earlier granted to MTN Nigerian Communications Plc. (MTN) to commence the phased disconnection of Globacom Limited (Glo) with effect from January 18, 2024 due to 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.”
The statement on Thursday however put paid to the dispute: “The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is pleased to announce that the interconnect debt dispute between MTN Nigeria Communications Plc. (MTN) and Globacom Limited (Globacom) has been amicably resolved.”
The NCC however warned that it will adopt a more proactive approach to forestall future incidences between operators. “In order to proactively address and prevent future instances of interconnect indebtedness within the industry, the Commission will be requesting relevant records and regular updates from MNOs, as well as adopting a transparent approach towards industry indebtedness.
This statement serves as a reminder of the Commission’s commitment to fostering a stable and compliant telecommunications ecosystem in Nigeria.”