After a decade and a half of protracted disputes over interconnection fees, MTN Nigeria and Globacom (Glo), two of Nigeria’s prominent telecommunications companies, have finally reached a settlement. According to information obtained by TechCabal from a reliable source familiar with the negotiations, MTN has agreed to accept ₦2 billion to settle the interest payment, down from the initial demand of ₦3 billion.
The dispute, which had been ongoing for 15 years, centered around interconnection fees between the two telecom giants. Interconnection fees are charges paid by one telecommunications operator to another for the use of its network to complete calls or transmit data.
The resolution of the disagreement follows interventions by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), prompted by Glo. Earlier in January, Glo faced the looming threat of disconnection by MTN Nigeria and was issued a 21-day ultimatum by the NCC to settle its debt or risk having its 61.5 million subscribers unable to call MTN lines.
According to the source, the interconnection debt, on which the interests had accrued, was settled prior to the agreement reached on the interest payment.
Glo’s interconnection fees debt had escalated over the years due to its consistent underpayment of the bills it incurred. This recurrent issue led to repeated threats from MTN and Airtel Nigeria to disconnect Glo’s services, with MTN disconnecting Glo for a five-day period in 2019.
The recent disconnection process initiated in November 2022 was a result of an accumulated debt owed by Glo to MTN Nigeria. MTN sought the approval of the NCC for the disconnection, ultimately receiving it in December 2023.
In light of these developments, a source at the NCC revealed that the new executive vice chairman is committed to enforcing market rules and ensuring compliance by all telecom operators. This signals a proactive approach to addressing industry disputes and fostering a more stable telecommunications environment in Nigeria.