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NCC to intervene over Telcos’ debt to VAS licensees


NCC Boss, Umar Garba Danbatta

NCC Boss, Umar Garba Danbatta

Licensees in the Value Added Service (VAS) market segment of the nation’s ICT industry have sent ‘Save our Soul’ letter to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over the increasing debts owed them by telecom operators.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that the debt profile running in billions of naira has forced about 30% of the licensees to close shop.

The VAS licensees have cried out to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to replicate its interventions that led to the payment of N10 billion owned to their counterparts in the interconnect segment by same telecom operators.

There are indications that NCC may step in to resolve the matter as the Professor Umar Danbatta, the EVC in his speech at the recent TERF 2016, admitted that “On the VAS segment, we believe that the absence of detailed regulation with appropriate market segmentation is responsible for interconnect disputes”.

At the forum, Professor Umar Danbatta, EVC of NCC represented by Engineer Ubale Maska, executive commissioner (Technical Services) at the Commission gave some regulatory insights into VAS and Interconnect markets at TERF 2016.

“The regulator is not interested in micro managing financial and relationships between, and among service providers, that have been substantially protected by subsisting commercial agreements.

“Interconnect debts have not been really a big issue in the industry except in cases of disputes. But there have been cases of interconnect fees disputes between service providers. In such cases, the regulator has intervened. In the past one year, such intervention has resulted in payments of about N10.5 Billion from about reported N17 Billion disputed interconnect debts.

Agreements have also been reached for the settlement of outstanding debts.

When contacted on the matter, Mr. Hyacinth Anucha, coordinator, Value Added Service at ATCON, said that available documents show some discrepancies in the system requiring NCC’s regulatory intervention to sanitize the sub-sector.

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