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Nigerian telcos mum over latest NCC fine

Nigeria , 14 Feb 2020

Nigerian telcos mum over latest NCC fine

Telecom operators in Nigeria have yet to respond to the country's telecommunications regulator regarding a decision to impose fines totalling NGN2.7-billion.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) fined all operators, except for MTN, for contravening the Regulator's order on forceful subscription.

According to the NCC's Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Report (Q3, 2019) Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile forcefully subscribed customers to data and value added services.

Airtel Nigeria incurred the highest fine of NGN2.4-billion (US$6.6-million), Globacom was fined NGN232.6-million (US$643,430) while 9mobile was fine NGN164.36-million (US$454,661).

The NCC statement reads: "During an audit exercise carried out by the commission (in Q3 of 2019), it was discovered that Airtel, 9Mobile and Globacom forcefully subscribed some customers to Data and Value Added Services in contravention of the Commission's Direction on Forceful Subscription."

In addition to the fine, NCC said it also directed the operators to make refunds to subscribers that were affected by forceful or automatic renewal of data subscription and activation or subscription to data and value-added services.

None of the companies have issued an official statement and have not responded to requests from the media for comment.

Telecoms industry expert and retired telecommunications engineer, Wale Abayomi, who has worked with some of the major telecommunications companies and VAS providers, said the operators' silence suggested they were guilty of the allegations.

Abayomi believes the regulator argued its case well and has given the operators time to respond. "The operators knew they erred and this is why they are quiet publicly but are going to be engaging the regulator privately," he said.

He added that MTN Nigeria was exempted from the sanction because of the operator's restructuring of its data subscription interface that gives subscribers the chance to choose whether their subscription should be automatically renewed or not.

"Considering MTN's fine history in Nigeria, it is a good development that it is not being mentioned in this fine and I believe other operators could have avoided the mess if they had just obeyed and aligned their operations with the regulator's directive," Abayomi told ITWeb Africa.

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