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NCC may sanction MTN over regulatory infractions

Paul Balo
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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC’s) axe may fall on leading mobile services provider, MTN for failing to abide by its earlier directive concerning its dominance in the voice segment of the industry and another directive to stop running promos on its network until quality of service (QoS) is improved upon, it was learnt in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, over the weekend.

According to sources, the regulator summoned MTN to its Abuja head office where it was requested to explain why it ignored the directive of the regulator “not to offer differential pricing in its on-net and off-net mobile voice service and collapse its on-net and off-net tariff”. The NCC also asked the operator to explain why it ignored its directive on running promos on its network.

“In 2013, the Commission carried out a determination of dominance position in the various segments of the Nigerian telecommunications market. That study resulted in the declaration of MTN Nigeria Communication Limited as the dominant operator in the mobile voice segment of the market.

“Consequently, the Commission placed certain obligations on MTN Nigeria Communication with effect from May, 2013. These include among others:

“Not to offer any differential pricing in its On-net and Off-net mobile voice service. Hence, MTN Nigeria Communication Limited was directed to collapse its On-net and Off-net Tariff.

“The above direction became necessary to promote fair competition, avoid any potential failure of the Nigerian telecoms market and improve quality of service.

“Also in February, 2014, following the failure of MTN, Airtel and Globacom to meet the various Quality of Service (QoS) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), the Commission placed a ban on any promotions or bonus offers on these networks until further notice.”

The source lamented however the monitoring of compliance showed that the telco flagrantly ignored these directives and went on with business “as usual.”

“Recent monitoring of compliance with the above regulatory obligations revealed glaring cases of violations of both the dominance obligations and the ban on promotions. Hence to maintain a healthy competition within the Nigerian telecoms market it became necessary that MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd be directed to ensure that the rules of engagements are strictly obeyed.

“To give MTN fair hearing, the NCC had a meeting with the telco on Tuesday 17th June 2014 to obtain its explanations for the observed violations. However, explanations by MTN Nigeria Limited were well considered and found to be unacceptable.

“Hence the Commission therefore directs as follows:

“That MTN should withdraw all existing and on-going promotions currently running on its network on or before Friday, 20th June, 2014;

“That MTN should ensure full compliance with the obligations under the Commission’s 2013 Dominance determination which mandates it not to charge any discriminatory price between its On-net and Off-net voice services. MTN must not embark on any action(s) that might create any “calling club” effect on their network;

“That MTN should take all measures to improve the present QoS performance of its networks; that irrespective of the above directives, the Commission would communicate to MTN any further decision regarding the above violations.”

source: Biztechafrica

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