By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-tech Editor, Emeka Aginam & Emmanuel Elebeke
LAGOS—The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, yesterday explained why it lifted the ban on regulatory services placed on MTN Nigeria for several regulatory infractions.
However, the commission said that lifting of the ban on regulatory services was in no way related to the N1.04 trillion fine it imposed on the operator, October 20, 2015, for failure to deactivate 5.2 million improperly registered SIM cards on its network, adding that these infractions predated this fine.
The letter lifting suspension of regulatory services to MTN signed by Mr. Efosa Idehen, Head, Compliance, Monitoring/Enforcement and Mrs. YetundeAkinloye, Head, Legal & Regulatory Services, specifically stated that the lifting of the suspension was a result of several letters from MTN to the NCC requesting for the lifting.
The letter stated: “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.”
The 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 showed that it had failed and deliberately refused to comply with the directives issued by the Commission.
The commission said that in spite of that, it continued to introduce additional promotions in utter disregard for the directives, contrary to the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 and Regulation 8(2) of the Enforcement Regulations 2005; relevant provision in the Guidelines for Advertisement and Promotion.
According to Efosa Idehen, “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.
“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.”
He warned that 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.