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Interconnect dispute: MTN lifts partial ban on Glo calls

For several days, network users of both @MTNNG and @GloWorld were in the dark regarding why they couldn’t contact one another. Subscribers of both telecommunications companies were unaware that they were the grasses suffering the clash of two elephants.

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Glo pays N2.6 billion interconnection debt to MTN, MTN Nigeria data, Glo tariff

For several days, subscribers of both MTN Nigeria and Globacom looking to connect with each other tried in vain not knowing if it was their phone or just the usual patchy network challenges common with Nigeria’s GSM services.

unbeknownst to them, they were at the receiving end of an ongoing dispute between the two of Nigeria’s largest mobile network providers, MTN and Globacom. MTN Nigeria reportedly banned incoming calls from Glo users for at least five days over the latter’s failure to pay its interconnection debts. According to reports, the debt burden and the accrued interest had risen to N4.4 billion.

Interconnection rate is the price that telecommunications operators pay each other for calls terminating on their networks. The interconnection rates were fixed at N3.90 per minute 2G/3G/4G operators; N4.70 for LTE operators, while the international termination rate of N24.40 was sustained.

[READ ALSO: Lafarge Africa finalises the sale of Lafarge South Africa Holdings]

Out of the total debt, Globacom only paid the sum of N500 million. This led formed MTN’s decision to ban calls from the Globacom affecting about 46.6 million Globacom subscribers and as well as MTN network users.

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The MTN decision was backed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). who had December 2018 granted approval to mobile network operators to disconnect other operators over rising interconnection debts and failure of the affected operators to pay.

Mobile Phone user, MTN bans Glo calls, MTN lift ban on Glo calls

A mobile user

NCC had in a letter instructed MTN, Airtel and the IHS to disconnect, on a partial basis, the services to Globacom, Ntel and some interconnection exchange points. This decision was taken after several pleas, meetings and payment deadlines issued to Globacom to fulfill its financial obligations failed to achieve the desired result. “NCC was informed by MTN Nigeria before it took the decision” the Director of Public Affairs of NCC, Henry Nkemadu told our Analyst on Wednesday.

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Why the ban was lifted: The ban was however lifted after stakeholders intervened in the dispute, with an insider stating that pressure was mounted on MTN because of the wide-ranging implications this could have on subscribers and the sector in general.

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  • While MTN Nigeria informed the NCC about its decision to go ahead it appears it did not inform its subscribers. This may have also been a factor in the decision to lif the ban.
  • Globacom is yet to brief its users why they experienced disconnection of calls to MTN, neither as it informed them that the network is back to normal. This showed that both companies do not have any respect for their subscribers.

[READ ALSO: MTN loses 178 thousand Internet Subscribers amidst data exhaustion concerns]

Note: The interconnect debt in the telecommunications industry stood at N165 billion as of December last year.

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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Corporate deals

DEAL: uLesson raises $7.5 million Series A round

uLesson has announced that it has closed a $7.5M Series A round.

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Sim Shagaya

uLesson, a Nigerian educational learning platform that leverages best in class teachers, media, and technology solutions to create high-quality, affordable and accessible education for African students, announced that it has closed a $7.5M Series A round.

This funding round was led by US-based Owl Ventures, which is focused on education as an investment. It was also backed by existing investors — Founder Collective and TLcom .

Founded by Sim Shagaya, uLesson curates personalised, curriculum-relevant content via mobile and PC devices for students in the K-7 to K-12 segment across the continent. Students can access the lessons via streaming and SD cards, where they can download and store the content, allowing them to study remotely, removing challenges around internet access limitations and costs.

According to Sim Shagaya,

  • The uLesson app has now been downloaded a million times with paying users from at least 7 countries (including countries we don’t formally serve). On average, learners spend around 77 minutes on the app daily — a figure that exceeds the engagement levels on most social networking apps.
  • “Our goal is that ten years from now, K-12 education on the continent will bear little semblance to what you see today. But it won’t just be different, it will be better on most dimensions and much more affordable.
  • “We also believe that the impact borne of the marriage of education and technology will be greater on the African continent than any other place in the world.”

This funding will be deployed to power uLesson’s expansion into Eastern & Southern Africa, as well as secure new talent and build its product development and production infrastructure.

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Corporate deals

CAP and Portland Paints obtain Federal High Court approval on proposed scheme merger

A Federal High Court approved the proposed scheme merger between Chemical Allied Products Plc and Portland Paints Plc.

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CAP Plc

The Judicial Divison of the Federal High Court has approved the proposed scheme merger between Chemical Allied Products Plc and Portland Paints Plc, and other matters connected therewith.

In line with this, the Federal High Court ordered that a meeting of the holders of the fully paid ordinary shares of Portland Paints and Products Nigeria be convened and held for the purpose of considering and approving a Scheme of Merger between the concerned entities.

Portland Paints disclosed this on the NSE before the open of trade today.

The statement said upon approval by the shareholders at the court-ordered meeting, which will be held at 12:00 pm on Thursday, 18 February 2021 at Radisson Blu Hotel, the subjoined resolutions of the Scheme Merger shall be effected.

Overview of the Scheme Merger and options offered to shareholders

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For the purpose of giving effect to the Merger as would be agreed between the Company and the Holders of the Fully Paid Ordinary Shares of Portland Paint Plc and Chemical and Allied Products PLC at the court-ordered meeting, shareholders of Portland Paint Plc at the close of business on the Terminal Date shall be offered the option:

  • To receive a Cash Consideration of N2.90 for each ordinary share of N0.50 held in Portland Paints as at close of business on the Terminal Date.
  • Or be allotted 1 ordinary share of N0.50 each in the share capital of CAP (credited as fully paid) in exchange for every 8 ordinary shares of N0.50 each held in Portland Paints.

Implied impact of the Scheme Merger between CAP and Portland Paints

Upon the Scheme becoming effective, the following modification shall be made:

  • All assets and liabilities of Portland Paints including but not limited to real property, intellectual property rights, permits, credits, allowances, equipment and machinery, plant, fixtures and fittings, motor vehicles and businesses, shall be transferred to CAP.
  • All employees and undertakings rights, powers and duties of a personal character, which could not generally be assigned or performed vicariously, of the Company shall be transferred to CAP.
  • All legal proceedings, claims and litigations pending or contemplated by or against the Company be continued by or against CAP.
  • The entire share capital of the Company shall be cancelled, and the Company shall be dissolved without being wound up.
  • All contracts of the Company shall continue to be in force and effect in accordance with their respective terms and conditions, and CAP shall assume all rights and obligations of the Company under all such contracts.
  • All monies standing to the credit of the Company at banks and with other debtors within and outside Nigeria be held to the credit of CAP.

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Energy

Price Watch: Consumers paid more for diesel and less for petrol in December

The December 2020 NBS report shows that consumers paid more for diesel and less for petrol than they did in November 2020.

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Updated: Petrol pump price increased to N151.56 per litre

The Price Watch report released by Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the month of December 2020 revealed that consumers paid more for Diesel (Automotive Gas Oil) and less for Petrol (Premium Motor Spirit), compared to that of November 2020.

The average price paid by consumers for diesel increased by 0.28%, from N223.74 in November 2020 to N224.37 in December 2020, while the average price paid by consumers for petrol decreased by 0.94% from N167.27 in November 2020 to N165.70 in December 2020.

Key highlights of the report

Diesel

  • Consumers in Taraba (N266.00), Adamawa (N262.50) and Zamfara (N257.50) paid the highest average price for Diesel.
  • While consumers in Kwara (N195.00), Gombe (N197.50) and Osun (N201.09) paid the lowest average price for Diesel.
  • Overall, consumers in North West (N240.57), North East (N238.88) and North Central (N226.37) paid the highest average price for Diesel, while consumers in South West (N209.27), South East (N209.35) and South South (N216.25) paid the lowest average price.

Petrol

  • Consumers in Abia (N176.19), Kwara (N172.43) and Kebbi (N169.92) paid the highest average price for petrol.
  • While consumers in Kaduna (N155.00), Katsina (N160.25) and Bauchi (N162.57) paid the lowest average price for petrol.
  • Overall, consumers in South East (N168.04), North Central (N166.94) and South South (N166.53) paid the highest average price for petrol, while consumers in North West (N163.79), North East (N164.47) and South West (N164.92) paid the lowest average price.

Since a lot of manufacturing companies rely heavily on diesel to power their machinery and equipment, the increase would have added to their cost of operations, culminating in consumers paying more for goods and services.

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Also, one would have expected that the reduced price of fuel in December 2020 would lead to lower transport fares for commuters during the festive season, but that was not the case.

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