Thursday , December 9 2021

47 million Glo subscribers in distress as MTN acts on NCC disconnection approval

Upon exhausting the 21 days ultimatum period, the 47 million subscribers of Glo networks are in continuous distress over their inability to connect to MTN network users.

The service disruption persists as the South African telecommunication company, MTN has decided to act upon the disconnection approval granted by the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC earlier this year.

The disconnection approval was granted by the telecommunication regulator as a result of the estimated N180bn interconnect debt incurred by the operators in Nigeria over the years.

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

Although, the commission has assured that none of the 174 million telecoms subscribers in Nigeria will be disconnected or suffer service disruptions as a result of its recent order to permit the disconnection of indebted operators from other operators’ networks; the 46,594,981 Glo subscribers has experienced otherwise over the past one week.

NCC confirmed on Tuesday that the total interconnect indebtedness of Globacom, Nigeria’s second largest telecom company, to MTN was placed at N4.4bn.

At a stakeholders review with NCC in 2018, interconnect rate was unanimously fixed at N3.90 per minute as rates for 2G/3G/4G operators; N4.70 for the LTE operators; while the International Termination Rate of N24.40 was sustained.

It is to be noted that interconnect rate was on money already paid for by the customers of which over 90 percent of mobile subscribers in Nigeria are prepaid.

In an report earlier, the regulator posited that “NCC is a consumer-centric regulator; the protection of our consumers and the sustainability of the industry are the primary drivers of our activities. So in this case, even before we granted the permission for disconnection, we had put some very stringent safety valves in place to protect consumers and ensure that they continue to enjoy uninterrupted service while we address the very serious issue of indebtedness in the industry.”

Nonetheless, Business Remarks effort to speak with Glo spokeperson on the subscribers plight proved abortive as they refused to pick calls or answer to text messages.

ALSO READ: MTN raises Capex to N105.8 billion, EBITDA by 40% in six months.

It was gathered that the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Dr Henry Nkemadu confirmed that MTN applied to the commission before embarking on the partial disconnection, adding that other network operators were handling their debt professionally.

However, the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr Olusola Teniola said that only 25 per cent of the debt had been paid since the last time NCC issued a warning concerning the level of interconnect debt.

ATCON had advocated for an automated settlement scheme association that will ensure interconnect charges were paid automatically going forward.

According to him this would compel operators to set aside a percentage of their daily recharge card sales into a settlement account that would be used every month to handle their interconnect and facility obligations.

“We again appeal to the government to consider an automatic clearing system,” Teniola said.

About Bukola Olanrewaju

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