The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has stated the N165billion interconnect indebtedness in the Nigeria’s telecom industry is worrisome, but insisted that no operator has the right to disconnect another operator without seeking permission from the Commission.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta stated this in an interactive session with some journalists on several key industry issues in Abuja recently.
“The NCC is worried about the accumulated huge debts from interconnectivity, which currently stood at over N165 billion and we have summoned operators and advised them to pay up their interconnect debt promptly. But be that as it may, no operator can disconnect another operator on the ground of interconnect debt, except by the express permission of NCC,” he said.
This, according to Danbatta is to forestall arbitrary disconnection of telecom services and avoid what he noted can threaten the telecom sector, stressing that disconnection will be a measure of last resort and cannot be done without the approval of NCC.
He admitted that some operators are heavily indebted to others over interconnect termination fees, but the NCC’s position is that those owing interconnect fees must pay such fees without further delay.
The former University Lecturer also explained that interconnect debt is made of two components: the facility and infrastructure components, emphasizing that when calls are terminated on other networks, the networks where the calls are terminated must be paid their termination fees.