Nigerian cellcos subject to fresh ban

14 Feb 2008

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has imposed a blanket ban on all four GSM cellcos preventing them from putting out adverts to attract new customers. The move follows ongoing complaints about network quality from customers and allegations that the networks are adding customers faster than the network expansion can cope with them. The local marketing industry is also expected to be hit by the NCC’s ban, as it earns a high proportion of its income from the four cellcos MTN Nigeria, Globacom, Celtel Nigeria and M-Tel. It is not clear if ongoing promotions, for instance Globacom’s raffle of 500 cars, will also have to be suspended. A similar ban was imposed in July 2007 and was subsequently breached by Globacom, resulting in an NGN5 million (USD39,900) fine. In December that year, MTN was threatened with the revocation of its licence by the House of Representatives.

NCC’s Head of Public Affairs Dave Imoko said in a statement that new service testing equipment recently acquired by the regulator has shown that all GSM operators are allegedly performing short of the minimum threshold set. ‘[They] were grossly in default on several key performance indicators for ascertaining quality of service,’ he said, adding that following these results, a fresh ban has been imposed barring GSM operators from sales promotions that may add more subscribers to their congested networks.