NCC explains sanctions against MTN

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Monday said its decision to impose a fine of N1.4 trillion on MTN was in the interest of national security.

”The fine of N1.04 trillion on MTN Nigeria by NCC was done in the interest of the public which has been at the receiving end of security challenges,’’ according to Tony Ojobo, its Public Affairs Director.

Ojobo in a statement said that the fine was a result of a violation of Section 20(1) of the Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulation of 2011.

”The Section states that any licensee who activates or fails to deactivate a subscription medium in violation of any provision of these Regulations is liable to a penalty of N200,000 for each unregistered but activated subscription medium.

”Consequent upon the overwhelming evidence of non-compliance, and obvious disregard to the rule of engagement by MTN, the NCC had no choice but to impose the sanctions,” the statement said.

It noted that MTN, in a letter of Nov. 2, admitted the infraction and pleaded for leniency. 

”The Commission has acknowledged this and is looking into their plea without any prejudice to the fine. 

”The fine remains but the appeal and other engagements with MTN may affect the payment deadline,” it explained. 

The statement said that the fine on the company was the second in two months following its failure to deactivate all unregistered and improperly registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) Cards. 

According to it, while other operators complied with a seven-day ultimatum, MTN did not.

”On Aug. 4, at a meeting of all the representatives of the Mobile Network Operators (MNO), with NCC, major security challenges through preregistered, unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards topped the agenda, after which operators were given the ultimatum to deactivate such within seven days.

”On Aug. 14, three days after the ultimatum expired, NCC carried out a network audit; while other operators complied with the directive, to deactivate the improperly registered SIM Cards, MTN showed no sign of compliance at all,’’ it said.

The statement said that other operators were also sanctioned for non-compliance with the directive to deactivate the improperly registered SIM Cards. 

”MTN got a fine of N102.2 million, Globacom N7.4 million, Etisalat N7 million and Airtel N3.8 million fine. Others complied while MTN flouted the fine,” the statement explained.

The statement said the Commission had a statutory responsibility to monitor and enforce compliance, especially where national security was at stake.

“National interest is paramount because when lives were lost, they cannot be replaced.’’

The statement further said NCC will not stand by and watch Rules and Regulations for Engagement being flouted by any operator.

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