Fined operators refuse to pay Nigeria’s NCC
In the on-going battle over poor quality of service from mobile phone operators in Nigeria, a court action brought on by a telecommunication consumer advocacy group has prevented Nigeria’s Communications Commission (NCC) from collecting fines it issued to MTN, Glo, Airtel and Etisalat.
The four mobile phone operators were fined N270m, N360m, N180 and N360m respectively for what the NCC deemed to be poor quality of service, and since the injunction by the courts, none of the operators have paid their fines.
But the NCC is adamant that the mobile operators should pay the fines, and said that there will be rolling consequences if they fail to comply.
“If they don’t pay for ten days it is N25m, 20 days it is N50 million and 30 days it is N75 million for each of the operators. Failure to pay any of the fines would force the regulator to resort to Directives and Actions in the National Communication Act (NCA) 2003 on the operators,” said spokesman of the Commission, Reuben Mouka.
The operators have previously said that they were shocked with the issuing of the fines, as some circumstances were out of their control.
“The failure to hit some of the quality measures could not be attributed alone to capacity expansion but also by other factors which represent industry-wide challenges. Foremost among these is the absence of reliable power which necessitates that every one of over 3 000 cell sites needs to be served by two generators which run 24 hours a day and need regular maintenance and provision of weekly supplies of diesel,” said Etisalat CEO Steve Evans earlier this month.
The court case is expected to last longer than the prescribed 10 days in which the NCC is expecting the payment of the fines.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor