The Nigerian Communications Commission has suspended its planned barring of Glo subscribers from calling MTN lines for 21 days.
The commission disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Reuben Mouka, as a follow-up to its Pre-Disconnection Notice issued on January 8, 2024.
In the first notice, the commission stated that it has approved MTN Nigerian Communications Plc. to commence the phased disconnection of Globacom Limited with effect from January 18, 2024, due to a long-standing interconnection debt dispute between the parties.
Announcing its extension, the NCC said, “The commission is pleased to announce that the parties have now reached an agreement to resolve all outstanding issues between them. For this reason, and in the exercise of its regulatory powers in that regard, the commission has put the phased disconnection on hold for 21 days from today, January 17, 2024.
“Whilst the commission expects MTN and Glo to resolve all outstanding issues within the 21 days, the commission insists that interconnect debts must be settled by all operating companies as a necessary component towards compliance with regulatory obligations of all licensees.”
It noted that its approval for disconnection would have potential impacts on consumers.
In its extension notice, the NCC stressed that mobile network operators and other licensees in the telecom industry must adhere to the terms and conditions of their licences, especially as contained in their interconnection agreements.
Earlier on Thursday, the commission said it was set to advise Globacom subscribers on the next steps following the expiration of a 10-day grace period for the barring of their lines from making calls to MTN lines.
Muoka said on Wednesday, “We will come out with some information about that. Most likely today, in the next few hours.”
The interconnect charge is the price telecom operators pay one another for calls terminating on their networks.
MTN and Glo have been at loggerheads over this fee for a period of time.
In 2019, MTN briefly disconnected Glo subscribers over a N4bn debt.
A source close to Glo has since said the telco has paid.
The source told PUNCH Online, “We paid within the window allowed. So, it is surprising that this is happening. We made outstanding payments already.”
Another industry source confirmed the payment to PUNCH Online but noted that there are still issues with interest payments.
The source also stated that the National Assembly has waded in.
The source said, “It has not been resolved. The NCC has waded in, and they are waiting for the resolution. They (MTN) are still waiting for the NCC to tell them what to do. Even, the National Assembly has called the two firms.
“The owing party has paid a substantial part of what they owe. But they are still owing for the interest accrued and VAT remittance.”