TELECOMS

NCC Threatens Stiffer Sanctions Against MTN and Celtel Nigeria after imposing N4.7 billion compensation to users

The Nigerian regulator NCC has warned that it will impose sanctions on MTN and Celtel, by imposing a fine of N5,000,000 million naira and a further sum of N500,000 per day if they refuse or neglect to pay compensation to all active subscribers on their network.

The NCC in an official statement signed by Dave Imoko, Head of Public Relations on the 4.7 billion naira compensation that MTN and Celtel have been ordered to pay subscribers disclosed that the two operators were being asked to pay subscribers because they failed to achieve Traffic Channel Congestion, TCH, below 10% levels in line with the Key Performance Indicators published by the Commission and issued to the operators on November 20, 2007. However, the statement did not make any reference to Globacom.

NCC in the statement reiterated that " In the event that any of the operators refuses or neglects to pay compensation to all active subscribers on their network in accordance with this directive, the Commission shall in accordance with the provisions of the Nigerian Communications Regulations 205, impose further fines in the sum of N5,000,000 (Five Million Naira), and a further sum of N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) per day that such penalty remains unpaid and for as long as the contravention persists".

The Commission directed the operators to pay compensation to every active subscriber on its network for the month ended January 31, 2008 at the rate of N175.00 per active subscriber for the poor and unacceptable quality of services on their networks. The compensation according to the statement will be paid to active subscribers by way of airtime credit, while no time limitation will be placed by the affected operators on the utilization of the airtime credit.

The NCC also reiterated that airtime credit of N175.00 should be paid to all active subscribers on the respective networks as at January 31, 2008, between March 1, 2008 and April 15, 2008. Imoko in the statement disclosed that the payment will be made in batches. "The payments are to be made by the respective operator in three batches. The first batch representing 40% of the total active subscriber base of the respective network should be credited between March 1, 2008 and March 15, 2008.

The second batch representing 30% of the total subscriber base of the respective network will be paid between March 16, 2008 and March 30, 2008, while the third batch representing 30% of the subscriber base of each of the networks should be paid between April 1, 2008 and April 15, 2008." Imoko stressed that the NCC will continue to monitor the congestion levels in the networks for the next three months, adding that the commission will also measure the TCH levels again during the month of May, 2008.

He expressed the hope that MTN and Celtel will take immediate steps to improve the quality of service in their networks in the over all interest of its subscribers and the telecoms industry, even as he promised stiffer sanctions should the TCH levels of the affected operators continue to be above the published Key Performance Indicator levels.

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