Nigeria’s internetwork connectivity was lately affected by financial and regulatory issues which forced the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to step up.
According to the regulator, MTN disconnected calls from its closest rival Globacom over an unpaid interconnection bill. It said that Globacom's total interconnection debt, owed to MTN, was NGN4.4-billion out of which NGN500-million has been paid.
Henry Nkemadu, Director of Public Affairs at the NCC said, “MTN applied to the commission before embarking on the partial disconnection.”
However, MTN restored interconnectivity after Globacom paid part of the amount.
Executive vice chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta said, “Though the commission granted approval to 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 (the) form of one-way disconnection.”
According to the NCC, the cost of unpaid interconnections was at NGN165-billion in 2018 when it reviewed interconnect rates to N3.90 for 2G/3G/4G operators, N4.70 for LTE operators, and N24.40 for the international termination rate.
The regulator invited operators that owe outstanding fees to settle these promptly to “prevent possible revenue loss and customer flight from their networks to competitors.”