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ATCON seeks automated interconnect settlement platform to rest debt crisis

As Nigerian telecoms subscribers continue to suffer some levels of difficulties in making calls between networks due to a partial disconnection of subscribers of Ntel and another network by MTN Nigeria, the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engr. Olusola Teniola, has proffered a lasting solution to the crisis of interconnect debt pile up.

Interconnect rate is the price that telecommunications operators pay each other for calls terminating on their networks.

In an interview, he explained that time has come for the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to come up with an automated settlement scheme to address the rising debt profile amongst networks in the industry.

He recalled that use of disconnection of networks as a solution to the problem had not worked, and will never work, rather it will create undue shocks amongst Nigerians who are struggling in going about their normal business.

In his argument, “Considering the fact that only 25 per cent of the debt had been paid since the last time the NCC issued a warning concerning the level of interconnect debt, it means that the strategy failed”.

Business Hilights recalls that in December 2018, NCC granted approval to mobile network operators to disconnect other operators for failing to pay their interconnect debt.

The move only effected a paltry 25 per cent compliance as the network interconnect debt continue to pile up.

The NCC had in 2018 sat with stakeholders and reviewed the interconnect rates. Parties agreed and fixed N3.90 per minute as rates for 2G/3G/4G operators; N4.70 for the LTE operators; while the International Termination Rate of N24.40 was maintained.

Findings from MTN Nigeria revealed the network is indebted to the tune of over N7bn by others.