Telecoms operators fined N2.9 billion over infractions

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Four major telecommunication companies in Nigeria have been fined for various actions that contravene the rules and regulations of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The regulatory body of the telecoms sector fined Airtel, MTN Nigeria, Glo, and 9mobile within the first and third quarters of last year for various infractions that were unapproved by the commission.

Breakdown of the fine: Airtel was fined N2.3 billion for disconnecting Exchange Telecommunications Limited without regulatory approval, which the Commission said contravened the provisions of the quality of service (QoS) and enforcement processes regulations.

While Airtel was fined the highest, MTN was fined N164.3 million, 9mobile N5million and Globacom was fined N232 million.

According to the statement released by NCC, 9mobile and Airtel were guilty of charging 13 and 56 subscribers respectively for full DND to value-added service (VAS) but failed to deliver the service.

The telcos claimed that the failure to deliver was due to technical and software challenges yet their pleas were rejected by the commission as they were asked to pay 5 million each.

“In the course of monitoring compliance with the do-not-disturb (DND) directive, the Commission discovered that EMTS (9mobile) and Airtel subscribed and billed 13 and 56 MSISDNs (Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Numbers) respectively on full DND to value-added service (VAS),” the document read.

“Accordingly, the Commission communicated with the licensees who claimed that contravention was caused by technical and software challenges. Their pleas were rejected by the commission and they were consequently sanctioned to pay N5, 000,000 each on February 26th and 27th, 2019 respectively for breach of the directive,” the statement read.

After the first sanction during the first quarter of 2019 as aforementioned, another fine was slammed on the telcos after an audit exercise was carried out in the third quarter of 2019.

“During an audit exercise carried out by the commission from September 25-28, 2019, it was discovered that Airtel, MTN and Globacom forcefully subscribed some customers to data and value-added services in contravention of the commission’s directive on forceful subscription,” the NCC stated.

The telcos were said to have made refunds to some of the affected subscribers. Nevertheless, the fines were slammed on the four of them. While 9mobile retained its N5 million fine as it was only sanctioned during the first quarter of the year, Airtel, MTN and Globacom were fined N2.3 billion, N164 million and N232 million respectively.

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