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MTN takes Ghanaian regulator to Supreme Court

By , Senior news journalist
Ghana , 07 Sep 2020

The battle for MTN’s market position in Ghana is far from over, as the pan-African mobile operator has launched another bid at the Supreme Court, seeking a review of the regulator’s decision to designate the telco as a significant market power (SMP).

Last week, MTN Ghana lost the battle in the High Court after it sought a review on procedural grounds following its classification by the National Communications Authority (NCA) as an SMP.

In the High Court, MTN argued that the decision did not meet the requirements of procedural fairness but the court disagreed and ruled in favour of the NCA.

Due to the importance of the matter to MTN, the telco says it has since appealed the matter in a higher court, telling shareholders in a statement that it filed papers on Friday, 4 September at the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the High Court’s recent decision.

A company designated as an SMP has the ability to heavily influence the price charged for its product because no other companies have the same product or a similar product of the same quality.

If the designation as an SMP is confirmed by the Supreme Court, it will expose the company to greater competition.

MTN is the leading telco in Ghana, with a 55.21% market share, and says the step to approach the High Court “was taken after a careful review of the court’s judgement”.

It adds: “On 1 September 2020, the High Court of Justice (Commercial Division) dismissed the company’s application for a judicial review of the declaration by the NCA of MTN Ghana as an SMP. MTN Ghana respects the decision of the court; however, in our opinion the judgement did not address our concerns that the NCA’s decision did not meet the requirements of procedural fairness.”

In addition, the company says it acknowledges the duties and powers of the NCA to promote fair competition among licensed operators but feels it is being treated unfairly.

“We also support the legitimate exercise of the NCA’s regulatory powers, but as a good corporate citizen and considering the international investment community, we believe that a decision by the highest court of the land would provide certainty and a veritable precedence on the procedural fairness in this, and future regulatory decisions of the authority. This will no doubt safeguard the interest of customers, shareholders, investors and the wider industry.”

According to MTN, the step to approach the Supreme Court still provides an opportunity for further engagements with the regulatory authorities.

“Indeed, MTN Ghana continues to reach out to the regulator and key stakeholders to have the concerns of both sides addressed in a collaborative and amicable manner.”

Over and above the current court matter, MTN has assured its customers and shareholders of its “unflinching commitment to its regulatory obligations and support for the Ghanaian Government’s efforts to enhance growth and competition in all segments of the telecommunications market”.

It says it will continue to invest and “innovate to realise its belief that every Ghanaian deserves the benefits of a modern connected life”.

Nompilo Morafo, MTN group executive of corporate affairs, tells ITWeb that MTN Ghana will from now refrain from further statements or comments on this matter.

“We will update the market as soon as we have any new developments.”

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