NCC Approves Disconnection of Globacom by MTN Over Interconnect Debt

In a decisive move to address the persistent issue of interconnect debt within the Nigerian telecom industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has granted approval for the partial disconnection of Globacom by MTN.

This decision follows Globacom’s alleged refusal to settle interconnect charges.As per the NCC’s public notice issued on Monday, the partial disconnection implies that Globacom’s subscribers will be unable to make calls to any MTN number.

However, they can still receive inbound calls from MTN customers. The telecom regulator has given Globacom a 10-day notice, starting from January 8, before implementing the disconnection.

The NCC, in its notice to inform Globacom’s subscribers, stated, “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.”

This move signifies a bold step by the NCC to tackle the interconnect debt issue, which, as of 2020, was estimated by the former Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, to be over N70 billion.

Danbatta highlighted the detrimental impact of interconnect debt on infrastructure expansion, describing it as a “big challenge” to healthy competition and the growth of the digital economy in Nigeria.

Interconnect debt arises from the failure of telecom operators to settle the cost, known as the interconnect rate, for calls terminating on their networks. This latest action by the NCC aims to address the longstanding problem and ensure the sustainability and quality of telecom services in Nigeria.