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NCC intervenes in operator stand-off

Nigeria , 06 Oct 2016

NCC intervenes in operator stand-off

The faceoff between Etisalat and IHS over debt totaling NGN13 billion has been amicably resolved by both parties following the intervention of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Confirming the development in Lagos, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umaru Danbatta, said Etisalat had already paid NGN4 billion

The debt is said to be in relation to the tower sale and lease deals entered into by both parties.

It would be recalled that in 2015, Etisalat transferred 555 telecommunications towers to IHS as part of its strategy to fully focus on improving the quality of its network and accelerating the roll-out of its 2G, 3G and 4G coverage across the country.

Prior to that, IHS also acquired 2,136 towers belonging to Etisalat and leased them back as part of plans to expand its coverage in Nigeria. Disagreements however arose over the lease payment for the acquired towers.

"NCC will continue to intervene in crisis within the industry. We will continue to ensure that there is fairness and disagreements are amicably settled to protect the industry and the subscribers," said Danbatta.

He added that the regulator had also mediated in a disagreement between MTN and Globacom that would have resulted in the disconnection of 30 million Globacom subscribers.

Speaking at a reception in his honour organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Danbatta hinted that the disagreement between MTN and Globacom hinged on interconnection charges.

In 2015, a NGN30 billion interconnect debt ruffled inter-operator relationship in Nigeria. MTN was owed NGN13.6 billion which its former General Manager, Funmi Onajide, described as a bad trend.

"If the trend is not curbed, industry sustainability is at risk, most especially from the imbalanced equation of higher CAPEX/higher OPEX versus lower revenues," Onajide said.

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