Govt: MTN Nigeria N1.04trn fine ‘not linked to restoration of regulatory services’
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) today said its decision to resume regulatory services to MTN Nigeria is not linked with N1.04 trillion fine imposed on the mobile phone company for not registering 5.2 million customers.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” bgcolor=”#” color=”#” bcolor=”#” arrow=”yes”]According to the telecoms regulator, in spite of that, MTN Nigeria allegedly “continued to introduce additional promotions in utter disregard for the NCC directive, contrary to the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 and Regulation 8(2) of the Enforcement Regulations 2005 and the relevant provision in the Guidelines for Advertisement and Promotion.”[/quote]Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs at NCC said in a statement made available to Technology Times that the ban on regulatory services imposed by the telecoms industry watchdog was initially “placed on MTN Nigeria for several regulatory infractions.”
According to the NCC Director, “the lifting of the ban on regulatory services is in no way related to the fine the Commission imposed on MTN on October 20, 2015, for failure to deactivate 5.2 million improperly-registered SIM cards, for which a fine of N1.04trillion was imposed. These infractions predated this fine.”
According to NCC, the letter lifting suspension of regulatory services to MTN signed by Mr. Efosa Idehen, Head, Compliance, Monitoring/Enforcement and Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, Head, Legal & Regulatory Services, “specifically stated that the lifting of the suspension is as a result of several letters from MTN to the NCC requesting for the lifting.”
The regulator confirms that the letter stated that “we have reviewed MTN’s plea and also took into consideration the fact that MTN has abated all the infractions that gave rise to the suspension of regulatory services by the Commission.”
Ojobo explains further that MTN Nigeria’s alleged infractions “included but not limited to tariffs and promotions by MTN in letters from NCC of May 4, 2015, May 9, 2015 and May 25, 2015 respectively to withdraw unapproved tariffs and promotions specifically MTN Trutalk, MTN Best II promotions, among others.”
Compliance checks on MTN allegedly showed that the mobile phone company “had failed and deliberately refused to comply with the directives issued by the Commission”, Ojobo says.
According to the telecoms regulator, in spite of that, MTN Nigeria allegedly “continued to introduce additional promotions in utter disregard for the NCC directive, contrary to the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 and Regulation 8(2) of the Enforcement Regulations 2005 and the relevant provision in the Guidelines for Advertisement and Promotion.”
NCC says that further communication with MTN in letters dated June 19, 2015 and July 13, 2015 “did not in any way discourage the operator from these infractions.”
According to Ojobo, consequently, in a meeting between the NCC and MTN management on October 5, 2015 it was resolved among others that:
- NCC should compile and communicate list of all outstanding infractions to MTN stating what they need to do regarding each of the infractions;
- MTN should resolve all the outstanding infractions within two weeks and revert to the Commission;
- The Commission will monitor and validate the claims by MTN;
- MTN must commit to settling all outstanding Annual Operating Levies (AOLs) debts from 2014 and MTN must pay all penalties resulting from these outstanding infractions.
Meanwhile, Ojobo said that, “having reviewed MTN’s plea therefore and in consideration that the operator has abated all the infractions listed above, the NCC hereby lifts the suspension urging MTN ‘to ensure that it maintains good regulatory standing with the Commission at all times to avoid future occurrence.’”
In lifting the suspension of regulatory services to MTN, “the Commission expects total compliance with NCA, 2003, Regulations and the Terms and Conditions of Licences issued to MTN and will not hesitate to impose necessary sanctions where MTN flouts any provision of the foregoing regulatory instruments”, the NCC said.