NCC, cellcos strike deal on fines payment

15 Jun 2012

Nigeria’s four major GSM operators have reached an agreement with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on payment of fines issued by the regulator for failure to meet quality of service standards, Bloomberg cites NCC spokesperson Tony Ojobo as saying. Last month South Africa’s MTN and UAE-based Etisalat each received a penalty of NGN360 million (USD2.2 million), while Airtel Nigeria, 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, and were subject to additional fines of NGN2.5 million per day for as long as the contravention persisted. Ojobo said the payments would probably be made within the next week, but did not say if the companies would pay all of the NGN1.17 billion total set on 11 May as well as the additional charges.

After receiving the fines, 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. For its part, 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. MTN plans to invest USD1.4 billion in Nigeria this year to improve infrastructure and capacity, while Etisalat said it would spend more than USD500 million on its network.