The telecommunications umpire, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), may soon stop all regulatory services to MTN Nigeria over the N1.4 trillion (about $5.2bn) fine imposed on the network operator.Although, the regulator is yet to come out with any statement on the matter, but Daily Sun reliably gathered that, from all indications, MTN may bow to the order or face more technical sanctions.
MTN was slammed N1. 4trillion for failing to obey NCC directives to cut off 5. 1million subscribers who were not properly registered on its network.
According to the regulator, by so doing, MTN Nigeria is undermining efforts by the Federal Government to tackle the security challenges and the war on terror and allied crimes.
Apart from the N1.4trillion fine, all the operators were equally found guilty of contravening NCC directives on pre-registered SIM cards as well as incomplete and improperly registered SIM cards across all GSM networks, an offence that cost them another N120.4million fine.
A breakdown shows 37 active pre-registered SIM cards on the Globacom network, amounting to N7.4 million; 35 active pre-registered SIM cards on the Etisalat network, amounting to N7 million, 19 active pre-registered SIM cards on the Airtel network, amounting to N3.8 million; 109 active pre-registered SIM cards on the MTN network, amounting to N21.8 million as well as the 402 incomplete and improperly registered SIM cards on the MTN network, amounting to N80.4 million, led to the cumulative fine of N120.4 million expected to have been paid on or before September 7, 2015.
NCC had given erring operators until September 7, 2015 to pay the fine or risk paying additional N100,000 fine per day, as long as the main fine remained unpaid.
As at yesterday, none of these operators have complied and each operator as at September 7 to October 27), is expected to pay additional N3.7million (N100,000 multiply by 37 days).
On the N1.4trn fine, Corporate Services Executive, Akinwale Goodluck explained that the fine relates to the timing of the disconnection of the 5.1 million MTN subscribers that were disconnected in August and September 2015 and is based on a N200,000 fine for each improperly registered subscriber. MTN Nigeria is currently engaging with the NCC to resolve the matter.
Also speaking, MTN’s Corporate Communications Manager, Funso Aina,explained that it is not too good to throw away a baby and the bathwater.
According to him, since MTN Nigeria started its operations, it has paid well over N4bn yearly to NCC as operating levies.
“We are law abiding, we have paid over N1trn on taxes and levies since August 8, 2001 that we started operation and invested well over $15bn on network roll out. When NCC slammed the previous sanction, a network operator has to cross check, everyone has a right.
We need to respect our subscribers’ right and it took a while to deactivate the subscribers, before what is happening again, the regualtor has slammed yet another fine.
“NCC has to look inwards so that many operators will not become history, “ he said.
Meanwhile all efforts to reach NCC’s Director Public affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo proved abortive as he didn’t pick his calls nor responsed to his text message from Daily Sun as at press time.
However, another Director in the communications unit, responded via SMS saying, “Please call Director, Public Affairs. thank you”.