The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC’s Executive Commissioner for Stakeholder Management, Mr. Sunday Dare, has announced that NCC’s recent order to permit the disconnection of indebted operators from other operators’ networks won’t have any effect on more than 160 million telecoms subscribers in Nigeria.
Dare clarified that NCC’s approval was not for any network to disconnect subscribers, as being wrongly misinterpreted in media. The order is aimed at some creditor networks to restrict services to debtor networks.
He stated that NCC is a consumer-centric regulator and its activities are aimed at the protection of the consumers and the sustainability of the industry.
“In this case, even before we granted the permission for disconnection, we had put some very stringent safety valves in place to protect consumers and ensure that they continue to enjoy uninterrupted service while we address the very serious issue of indebtedness in the industry,” Dare added, reported Vanguard.
Dare explained that the industry has been plagued with the very serious problem of interconnect and facility indebtedness over the years and as a result of some operators have racked up huge debts to others and have refused to pay.
He added that NCC is currently working with all stakeholders to resolve the issues, but the level of indebtedness in the industry is at an embarrassingly high level, and the whole telecoms industry is at risk of failure if no immediate action is taken.
Dare said that despite holding several meetings with the parties and giving them several deadlines, the debtors have not yet paid. He also outlined that some operators are taking undue advantage of The Nigerian Communications Act of 2003 provision which says no operator can disconnect another operator without the written approval of the NCC.