Quartet must pay fines, NCC warns

30 May 2012

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has confirmed that the country’s four major GSM operators did not meet the payment deadline for a NGN1.17 billion (USD7.3 million) fine issued for failure to meet quality of service standards. Earlier this month, South Africa’s MTN and UAE-based Etisalat were each issued with a penalty of NGN360 million, while Airtel, which is owned by Indian telco Bharti Airtel, and Globacom were fined NGN270 million and NGN180 million, respectively. The quartet were required to pay the penalties on or before 25 May 2012, but local newspaper This Day cites NCC head of media relations Reuben Muoka as confirming that this deadline was not met. He added that an additional fine of NGN2.5 million per day still stands for as long as the contravention continues. However, the four GSM cellcos reportedly agreed at a meeting last week to resist payment of the fine, following unsuccessful negotiations with the NCC. For its part, Etisalat said that capacity constraints alone were not to blame for poor service, citing roadworks, sabotage of network infrastructure and a lack of electricity as contributing to the problem. In a similar vein, MTN’s corporate services executive, Akinwale Goodluck, said inadequate power, vandalism of facilities and heightened insecurity in several parts of the country were in part attributable to the company’s failure to meet service quality measures.