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Telecoms: MTN set to disconnect Glo Network subscribers’ calls over indebtedness

*MTN Nigeria Communications Plc says following the directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission, Glo subscribers will not be able to call MTN customers from January 18, 2024, but making calls to Glo subscribers is still allowed

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the telecoms sector regulator’s recent approval for partial disconnection of Globacom consumers’ phone calls, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc has announced to its customers that Globacom network subscribers will not be able to make calls to MTN lines, effective from Thursday, January 18, 2024.

The Telco’s announcement to disconnect its competitor stays until the Nigerian-owned operator (Globacom) settles the much disputed interconnect fees debt it owes to the tune of N1.6billion.

ConsumerConnect had reported the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in a ‘Pre-Disconnection Notice’ issued Monday, January 8, 2024, had given Globacom 10-day grace period to resolve the alleged indebtedness with MTN Nigeria.

MTN Nigeria, in a follow-up statement, said: “Following the directive from NCC, Glo subscribers will not be able to call you from January 18, 2024. Making calls to Glo subscribers is still allowed.”

Close sources with the knowledge of the matter, had disclosed that the interconnect charges, which started over 15 years ago, have now accumulated into billions of Naira, which MTN and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) could no longer ignore.

Besides, reports indicate Globacom Limited, operator of Glo Network, still owes the NCC the Annual Operating Levy (AOL), and every Mobile Network Operator (MNO) pays the levy to the regulatory Commission every year.

Ttelecoms sector regulator’s approval to disconnect Glbacom Network

Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, in the notice had said the telecoms sector regulatory Commission’s approval of the partial disconnection was made “Pursuant to the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 and The Guidelines On Procedure For Granting Approval To Disconnect Telecommunications Operators, 2012.”

The NCC stated: “The Nigerian Communications Commission hereby notifies the public and subscribers of Globacom Limited (Globacom) that approval has been granted for the partial disconnection of Globacom from MTN Nigeria Communications Plc. (MTN), due to non-settlement of interconnect charges.”

The industry regulator also said that Globacom was notified of the application made by MTN, and was given an opportunity to comment and state its case accordingly.

“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,” said the NCC.

The Commission thus, stated: “All subscribers are, therefore, requested to Take Notice that:

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.

At the expiration of 10 (ten) 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.

The Partial Disconnection, however, will allow in-bound calls to Globacom network.”

The NCC added: “Please note that this disconnection will subsist until otherwise determined by the Commission.”

Globacom reportedly insists no debt owed to MTN

Meanwhile, Globacom Limited, operator of Glo brand, has denied any indebtedness to MTN Nigeria Communications Plc.

The Nigerian network operator has denied reports that the firm still owes MTN Nigeria interconnection charges despite the NCC’s published pre-disconnection notice suggesting otherwise.

A Globacom source disclosed to reporters in the week, in Lagos, that the amount owed MTN, totalling N1.6 billion, had been paid.

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