Nigeria: MTN Pleaded for the Reversal of Suspension Order on Regulatory Services, Says NCC


Facts have emerged as to why the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) decided to lift the ban on the suspension of regulatory services it imposed on MTN last year, based on various infractions committed by MTN.

According to the NCC, aside addressing all the infractions, MTN also wrote the NCC severally, pleading for the reversal of the suspension order on regulatory services imposed by NCC on MTN. It was gathered that it was the combination of both factors that made the commission to lift the ban, NCC said in a statement.

According to the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo: “Having reviewed MTN’s plea therefore and in consideration that the operator has addressed 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.”

MTN had yesterday, announced at its headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa that NCC had at last, lifted the ban. In lifting the suspension of regulatory services to MTN, “the commission expects total compliance with the Nigerian Communications Act (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,” Ojobo said.

He however clarified that the lifting of the ban on regulatory services was 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 N1.04 trillion was imposed. These infractions predated this fine, he said.

He explained that the letter lifting suspension of regulatory services to MTN, was signed by the Head, Compliance, Monitoring/Enforcement and the Head, Legal & Regulatory Services, Mr. Efosa Idehen and Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, respectively.
Ojobo specifically stated that the lifting of the suspension was as a result of several letters from MTN to the NCC requesting for the lifting.

“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 said.

He listed the infractions to include tariffs and promotions by MTN, which were stated in letters from NCC of May 4, 2015, May 9, 2015 and May 25, 2015 respectively, ordering MTN to withdraw all unapproved tariffs and promotions specifically MTN Trutalk, MTN Best II promotions among others. Compliance checks on MTN showed that it had failed and deliberately refused to comply with the directives issued by the commission.

In spite of that, MTN 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, Ojobo explained.

“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. 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, Ojobo said.
Source: This Day 16 March 2016