Telecommunications services have gone poorer within the previous few days thanks to a partial disconnection of Telephone lines for the most part due to increasing and unpaid interconnect debts.
It was learnt that an interconnect debt of over N165 billion among some stakeholders, together with the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), clearing homes and worth intercalary Service (VAS) suppliers, is presently inflicting silent however serious frictions within the telecoms sector.
An undisclosed source said that the debt rose from N20 billion in 2013 to N165 billion as at June 2018.
An interconnect debt is the one incurred by an operator for terminating calls on another network. Currently, statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that as at June, there have been 174 million active subscribers, out of that MTN has sixty five million; Globacom forty six million; Airtel forty five million; and 9Mobile fifteen million.
It was learnt that as a results of the debt, it’s become tough for subscribers to connect Globacom network, particularly from MTN and the other way around.
A Globacom subscribers, said the last four days are terribly feverish obtaining calls through from the network, to particularly MTN.
A Globacom subscriber, Oluwaseun Adekoya, said that for about 2 days, it had been tough for him to connect to different networks. “What we hear is that ‘you cannot call this MTN line, contact your service provider’, or ‘unfortunately, this call can’t be completed at the moment, contact your service provider’.”
Another subscriber to the network, Chinedu Obaze, said: “When I attempted to call an Airtel line, the road was simply speech busy, busy, and busy. This happened throughout the weekend.” once Obaze contacted Globacom’s client care department, the officers said: “We are acting on the challenges. Services can before long be remodeled.”
Telecoms corporations seem to be uncontrollable in Nigeria.”
An MTN subscriber, Gbenga Tundun, said he experienced drop calls connecting to the Globacom, however “connecting to Airtel was truthful from an equivalent line.”
A close source at MTN said the telecommunications firm had commenced partial disconnection of services on a number of the opposite networks, particularly those owing it interconnection debts.
She disclosed: “An explicit network owes MTN over N7 billion in interconnection debts. we’ve written to the said operator, however it’s remained unconcerned concerning the difficulty. we decided to write to NCC and that we got the move to disconnect. thus some lines will experience problem.”
According to her, “while some Tier two operators have approached MTN for negotiation, this explicit firm owing us over N7 billion has refused to mention something. we’ve called them for a meeting, however the operator didn’t bother to show up. The situation now’s that they can’t terminate calls on MTN, however we can terminate calls on their networks. We don’t owe any interconnect debt. The painful issue is that these monies are collected ahead, as a result of the telecoms market here is generally pre-paid.”
It was learnt that some Tier two operators, owed Tier one service suppliers the maximum amount as N23 billion. Out of this, Globacom is additionally owed concerning N5 billion. IHS Nigeria, an infrastructure supplier within the telecoms sector is being owed over N15 billion.
Confirming the impasse among the operators, the Director, Public Affairs of NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, in a very text message, said: “The NCC is alert to things, that may be a fallout of interconnection debts owed MTN by Globacom, that haven’t been resolved.”
A source at Globacom, who didn’t want to be disclosed, said: “We are already talking at the best level on the matter. it’ll be resolved earliest.”
It was learnt that Globacom has paid N2.5billion to MTN as a part of the interconnect debt owed the corporate.
On the rising interconnect debt, the President of the Association of Telecommunications corporations of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, said the property of any trade was continuously factored into the number of debt and leverage that’s in danger of not being paid.
“This is particularly true after you contemplate that ninety eight per cent of telecoms services are paid by the customers, and since services have already been bought before they’re delivered, it makes good sense that interconnects and tower rental prices should have already been collected by the operators owing the debt.
“Unfortunately, the trade has recorded a brand new high level of unpaid debt that has accumulated over the years. within the past, disconnecting operators eventually complete up within the closure of these businesses. The Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) collapse was a case that’s greatly evident,” Teniola same.
The ATCON boss, who urged the affected subscribers to use the Mobile variety movableness theme and port to out there network, urged NCC to introduce an automatic clearing interconnect theme as instructed by the association this year.
According to him, this and future debts would have to be written off if those corporations disconnected won’t eventually come in forced bankruptcy.
In a statement on the lingering crisis among the MNOs, the NCC assures the over 174 million telecoms subscribers of their protection from any service disruption as a results of the continuing restrictive intervention towards partitioning the rising interconnectivity debts issue.
The commission additionally urged debtor operators to settle interconnect debts owed their creditor networks without any delay to forestall attainable revenue drop and client flight to competitors.
In the statement, the NCC govt chair, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said, as a consumer-centric telecoms administrative unit, the commission was keen on guaranteeing that the customers still get pleasure from uninterrupted service whereas efforts are being created to handle the difficulty of financial obligation within the trade.
According to him, the difficulty of interconnection is being handled exquisitely among the range of the restrictive provisions to guard customers by guaranteeing that their quality of expertise (QoE) isn’t acutely affected.
Danbatta said that whereas restrictive approval for disconnection was granted to the creditor networks late last year, as a final resort towards partitioning the large interconnection debts threatening the health and property of the trade, the commission would make sure that no telecoms subscriber is disconnected.