MTN disconnects Globacom over N4.4b debt

‎MTN Nigeria has partially disconnected over 46 million Globacom subscribers from reaching their families and friends using MTN mobile service.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)  said the partial disconnection is in-line with the commission rules, saying Globacom, Nigeria’s second-largest telecom company, is owing MTN Nigeria a total of N4.4 billion in interconnect fee.

The commission put the total interconnect debt in the industry at N165 billion.

Experts in the industry said despite series of meetings and payment deadlines issued to Globacom, the indigenous company only paid N500 million and has refused to make further payment.

The NCC reviewed national interconnect rates in 2018 and reached fixed rates of N3.90 per minute for 2G/3G/4G operators, N4.70 for LTE operators and N24.40 for International Termination Rate.

Dr Henry Nkemadu, the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, said MTN got the commission approval before embarking on the partial disconnection.

“If there is any issue of disconnection, it is in line with an agreement reached by the companies. The necessary notices were already given because the indebtedness was getting too high and remember that interconnect indebtedness is not money owed but money already paid for by the customers. We have almost 99 per cent prepaid customers. If they (customers) have already paid for terminating calls, why shouldn’t the operator pay,” he stated.

In a bid to reduce the rising interconnect debt in the industry, the telecom regulator in 2018 granted approval to mobile network providers to disconnect other operators for failing to pay their interconnect debt.

Globacom subscribers have taken to social media to voice their dissatisfaction, saying Globacom should reach a payment term with MTN before more damage is done to their businesses.

This could hurt Globacom subscription and revenue if this is not addressed on time, especially considering MTN Nigeria reach and edge.

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