The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has approved new guidelines on Procedure for Granting of Approval to Disconnect Telecommunication Operators, with the regulator increasing its power to pursue offenders.
Eugene Juwah, Vice Chairman of the NCC, said the 2004 guidelines were now outdated and it was time for tougher rules.
He said: “It has been observed that some operators took advantage of the provisions of the old guidelines to deliberately refuse to promptly discharge their financial obligations to their interconnect partners. This was possible because of the processes that had to be followed before NCC could authorize the disconnection of an operator.”
Furthermore, he noted some telecommunications network operators in Nigeria view Interconnect Exchanges as a major part of the problem.
“They now owe other operators interconnection charges, thus compounding the problem they were meant to alleviate. The problem has continued to escalate and the current cumulative debt profile in the industry is worrisome; if the continued high interconnection indebtedness is left unchecked, it will impact negatively on the industry,” Juwah said.
The guidelines has reduced the process required to get disconnection approval.
“This is a measure to ensure that interconnection indebtedness is not detrimental to the effective administration of viable telecommunication businesses,” the Vice Chairman added.