VAS providers are shooting down their own operations – Medallion’s boss Nnamani

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By Segun Oruame, Anthony Emeka Nwosu and Aanuoluwa Omotosho

Value Added Service (VAS) operators in Nigeria struggling under the weight of unfair agreements with telecom network owners have no one to blame but themselves, Mr. Ike Nnamani, an interconnect expert and CEO of Medallion Limited, a Lagos-based interconnectivity company has said.

The telecom industry is overwhelmed with heavy debts on the side of VAS providers with network operators threatening to unplug debtor-VAS providers.

Nnamani said during an interview with IT Edge News in Lagos that VAS operators shortchanged themselves once they opted to deal directly with network owners while they could have got a better deal from interconnect companies like Medallion.

Network owners also run their own VAS services and are in a position to dictate the terms of the agreement with VAS operators since they (the networks) own the core services and the primary infrastructure on which VAS as secondary services operate.  Nnamani argued that the VAS operators are suffering because they chose to maintain a peer to peer relationship with the telcos. In a way that has not favoured them.

I feel very sorry for VAS firms. What VAS providers have been going through, in all honesty, isn’t fair. Some of the operators don’t want to play by the rules. The major operators have had a relationship which in my own opinion isn’t fair. This is affecting the level of indebtedness in the industry. We always advise these VAS firms to channel their  traffic via Medallion interconnect clearing system, but they wouldn’t.

One way they could have avoided dealing directly with network owners who are also competitors was to have simply connected to interconnect companies who are mandated to interconnect all telecom service providers.

“Personally, I feel very sorry for VAS firms. What VAS providers have been going through, in all honesty, isn’t fair. Some of the operators don’t want to play by the rules. The major operators have had a relationship which in my own opinion isn’t fair. This is affecting the level of indebtedness in the industry. We always advise these VAS firms to channel their traffic via Medallion interconnect clearing system, but they wouldn’t.

“If they had done this by channeling this traffic to our system, we will settle their interconnection debts that might arise.  The services they offer, we can give connectivity to the VAS providers and we keep records of the transactions. We do global settlement, we don’t isolate operators, we pay from a global standpoint.

“The issue of the dispute will also be resolved because of the VAS firms, if they channel their traffic via Medallion, it is Medallion that will pay them not VAS operators. These are the areas we could have helped them and should be helping them. The role of the regulator is to ensure that no players suffer in the industry and we commend that. The VAS firms are suffering because they choose to maintain a peer to peer relationship with the telcos,” said Nnamani.


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