Glo in legal dispute with MTN, NCC over interconnection payments

15 Jan 2010

Nigerian telecoms company Globacom is pursuing legal action against the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and MTN Nigeria at a Federal High Court in Lagos, alleging that the NCC unsatisfactorily handled a dispute over interconnection between itself and MTN, local newspaper Nigerian Compass reports. In 2003 the two operators reportedly entered into an interconnection agreement, under which neither party should invoice for a phone call later than 60 days after the actual call date. However, according to claims made by Globacom, MTN violated the agreement by making a claim of over NGN1 billion (USD6.5 million) for unpaid supplementary invoices. The NCC waded in on the dispute, forming an arbitration panel to look into the matter, which ruled that Globacom should pay its rival NGN856 million within 30 days for invoices for calls terminated on MTN’s network. Globacom is appealing the panel’s decision, claiming that it was not a fair hearing with the panel exhibiting bias in favour of MTN. Both MTN and the NCC have filed separate preliminary objections to the suit, stating that the Lagos court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter and urged the court to instead refer the case to a court in Abuja, where MTN had earlier filed a suit against Globacom, seeking to enforce the ruling of the NCC’s panel. The matter has been adjourned to 3 February 2010 for hearing.