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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Medallion, MTN in interconnection pact

Remmy Nweke

MTN Nigeria, the nation’s largest telecom operator (MTN) has signed interconnect pact with Medallion Communications Limited, a licensed interconnect exchange operator.

President, MedallionCom, Mr. Ikechukwu Nnamani, disclosed in Lagos that his firm has is the first time MTN is going into an interconnect agreement with any of the licensed interconnect clearinghouses.

He said Medallion’s interconnect clearinghouse services would help MTN reduce it’s interconnect operating cost by ensuring that the number of links to fixed operators is minimized and the use of network resources optimized.

He stated that it would also enable fast and efficient settlement of interconnect charges, and ensure that payment for all calls terminated on MTN’s network is guaranteed.

The reduction in operating cost would be passed on to subscribers on MTN’s network in the form of lower call tariff, while ensuring a better quality of service delivery to the subscribers, he added.

With the signing of this development MTN seems poised to continue its market dominance, as it would be able to free up network resources and subsequently improve quality of service delivery to its subscribers.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has licensed interconnect clearinghouse firms in late 2004 as part of efforts to put a rein on the issues of interconnection, interconnection charges and settlement of the same.

Experts have described MTN, the dominant operator, signing up with the Medallion as a move bound to ease interconnection issues in the entire telecommunications sector.

Medallion has already signed agreements with a number of private telephone operators (PTOs) such as MTS First Wireless.

Nnamani said linking of the operators through the clearinghouses would eliminate constant bickering among operators on call detail records and ensure that settlements of debts are made to operators in a timely and cost effective manner.

“This will create confidence in the system and ensure that operators are willing to accept calls from other operators,” he said.

Other benefits of the linking through the clearinghouses include improved quality of service to subscribers, localization of calls and reduction of tariffs due as transmission costs would be localized.

Analysts said more calls would completed using interconnect clearinghouses as result of more transparent traffic flow, higher capacity and efficient routing.

Some of the clearinghouses have signed agreements with several operators to interconnect them and have also started testing the quality of voice and data connections from their exchanges to the operators.

It was gathered that a number of operators are due to put pen to paper towards the physical connection of their network to other operators.
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