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MTN ceases hostilities with Ghana regulator

By , Senior news journalist
Ghana , 14 Oct 2020

Pan-African telecoms group MTN has withdrawn its market dominance case against regulator, the National Communication Authority (NCA), in the Ghana Supreme Court.

The NCA designated MTN as a significant market power (SMP) in Ghana and the operator sought a judicial review in June on procedural grounds, arguing the decision did not meet the requirements of procedural fairness.

An SMP company 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.

MTN is the leading telco in Ghana, with a 55.21% market share, and in September, the Ghanaian High Court dismissed the telco’s application seeking a review of its status.

Due to the importance of the matter to MTN, the telco 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.

In a turn of events, MTN has now decided to withdraw the matter before it was heard and hopes the end of the Supreme Court matter paves the way for an amicable resolution with the NCA.

“Given the progress made so far, in good faith, on the settlement discussions with NCA, and ministry of communications, the company has withdrawn its application filed at the Supreme Court on 4 September 2020. It is our expectation that this action will pave the way for further discussions and an amicable resolution, in the spirit of the renewed channels of engagement,” says MTN.

“MTN Ghana identifies that a collective goodwill and commitment is necessary to help the entire industry thrive and support government’s agenda to enhance connectivity and the availability of communication services in the country.”

Additionally, MTN says it remains focused on providing the enabling technology to support Ghana’s digital economy through partnerships with government and other Ghanaian telecommunication players.

“MTN Ghana would like to reassure its customers and shareholders that our commitment to the delivery of a bold new digital world in Ghana continues to be resolute.”

MTN is not the only SA-born telecoms group that is facing challenges with regulators in other territories on the continent.

Last week, Vodacom had to approach the High Court in Lesotho after the communications authority revoked the company's unified licence.

The Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) shocked the telecommunications industry after announcing it had invalidated Vodacom’s licence in the mountainous Kingdom, citing alleged transgressions.

The decision by the LCA meant Vodacom Lesotho had to stop providing voice, messaging, data and converged services to its customers.

The telco has 1.2 million people, as well as 661 000 mobile money customers, on its network.

Vodacom was granted an interdict on Saturday last week and the matter returns to the court on 23 October, when the LCA is expected to defend its decision.

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