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MTN, GLO move to resolve N10bn interconnect dispute

By Prince Osuagwu

The two telecom giants, MTN and Globacom embroiled in N10 billion interconnect dispute are working hard to resolve the impasse, Vanguard has learnt. Vanguard reliably gathered that the two companies are meeting to hammer out modalities to resolve the dispute and give the over 46 million Glo subscribers affected by the impasse, a respite.

MTN, weekend, activated a partial restriction of call termination from the Globacom network, claiming that Globacom owed it over N7 billion in accumulated interconnect debt and has not shown any commitment to off-set the debt

The telco said it ought to have long disconnected Globacom and two other operators but delayed the action in anticipation that Globacom would come to the negotiation table.

A reliable source at MTN said that the company resorted to restricting termination of Glo calls and text messages because while the other two companies have approached MTN with a commitment to pay within a given time, Globacom has been arrogant to the extent of avoiding discussions, ignoring meetings and refusing to respond to correspondences.

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The source said: “Yes, I can confirm that we partially disconnected Globacom. I can also confirm that there are negotiations, but my fear is that the telco is still arrogant in its approach. That is what may delay resolution. In any case, the telecom business now is largely prepaid. The subscribers pay as they call, so why should the company refuse to remit its interconnect obligation. For us, we don’t owe anybody including Glo. So, it has no reason to owe”

He added that the regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission gave approval for the partial disconnection.

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Meanwhile, Globacom sources told Vanguard yesterday that the issue is strictly a business issue which will be resolved as soon as possible.

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According to the source, “we are aware that calls from some of our subscribers are restricted from terminating at the MTN network. But it is a business issue which would be resolved quickly at the negotiation table. Let me also inform you that as we speak, the two companies are in serious talk and would resolve the dispute as quickly as possible. We are aware of the weight we carry as a Nigerian company to see that the telecom sector is stable to support the aggregate economy so, we are ready to ensure that amicable resolution is achieved”
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