By FEMI IDRIS
The failure of some operators to meet their interconnect payment obligation is raising concerns among interconnect players.
Some interconnect houses are complaining that many operators are not able to meet their obligation as at when due. This is impacting on their own (interconnect houses) ability to meet their commitments including loans servicing with financial houses.
One interconnect operator in Victoria Island, Lagos warned in a chat with IT Edge News that this could impact negatively on the sector. The operator said it was being owed several millions of naira, and it fears the rising debts could undermine its own capacity to deliver if payments are not made this quarter (Q1).
Interconnect payment crisis seriously undermined the sector many years back until the Nigerian Communications Commission, the sector’s regulator, was forced to intervene. Owed billions of naira, many operators simply unplugged debtor networks to put hold subscribers to ransom.
Under the law, an operator cannot unplug another operator.
Another interconnect operator in Lagos said it was already discussing with the regulator to seek ways of addressing these concerns.
Nigeria has over 140 million telecom subscribers. But the sector has long gone beyond voice service and has become a major player for data, with many data operators also being interconnected.