The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has emphasized the mandatory compliance of all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and other licensees in the telecom industry with the terms and conditions outlined in their licenses, particularly in their interconnection agreements. The NCC issued this warning while announcing the temporary suspension of its approval for MTN Nigerian Communications Plc. (MTN) to initiate the phased disconnection of Globacom Limited (Glo) starting from January 18, 2024. The suspension is a result of a prolonged interconnection debt dispute between the two parties.
In a statement released by the Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Mouka, the NCC explained that the decision to halt the phased disconnection was made in response to the commitment of both parties to amicably resolve their issues. The suspension will be in effect for a period of 21 days, during which all operating companies are expected to settle their outstanding debts.
The statement reads in part: “The Commission is pleased to announce that the parties have now reached agreement to resolve all outstanding issues between them. For this reason, and in exercise of its regulatory powers in that regard, the Commission has put the phased disconnection on hold for a period of 21 (twenty-one) days from today, 17 January, 2024.
“Whilst the Commission expects MTN and Glo to resolve all outstanding issues within the 21-day period, 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 is obligatory that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and other licensees in the telecom industry keep to the terms and conditions of their licenses, especially as contained in their interconnection agreements.”
The NCC clarified that when initially granting approval for the disconnection, it was fully aware of the potential consequences the decision could have on consumers. In light of this awareness, the NCC maintained ongoing communication with both MTN and Globacom to encourage a resolution that would prioritize and safeguard the interests of consumers. The NCC aimed to ensure the smooth functioning of the national telecommunications network throughout the process.