MTN Nigeria on Wednesday said it had turned on the 5G spectrum in Nigeria with 20,000 subscribers.
The telecoms giant also said potential users can pre-order a home broadband device to experience internet “downloads in seconds, not minutes.”
“2G brought us SMS and picture messaging,” MTN CFO Modupe Kadiri said in a post. “3G was about mobile internet access. 4G made streaming and sharing a part of everyday life. 5G delivers the future and it’s here – higher internet speeds, downloads without delay, near-instant connection when streaming, using apps, loading websites, playing games, or connecting to smart home devices.
“So today we started another phase in our journey to Brighten the lives of our esteemed subscribers. Yes today we turned on the 5G spectrum and kicked off our 5G pilot. 20,000 customers with enabled devices can now try out our next-generation network where coverage is available. So seeing 5G on your phone? It means you’re part of the pilot. Welcome to the wonder of 5G!”
The House of Representatives on Tuesday vowed not to rest on its oars in a bid to ensure accountability on the N2.6 trillion capital allowances granted to MTN by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Oluwole Oke, stated this at the resumed investigative hearing into the audit queries on tax evasion issued by the office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (oAuGF).
He disclosed that the oAuGF report indicated that the documents relating to the N2.6 trillion capital allowances were allegedly forged.
While stressing that the committee invited MTN over tax evasion, Oke explained that the oAuGF, in its report, observed that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) accorded value to the telecoms company while in some cases without certificates and evidence of capital allowance issued by Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry, reflecting the whole assets procured by the company.
“We have issues in this country where funds are not adequate for government to carry out policies and programmes, which is why we had to borrow even though there are massive revenue leakages,” he said.
“MTN has also made appearances where N2.6 trillion was seen as the taxable value for assets of the company and we asked as to where they exist and who verified them because they had already claimed value for them with the FIRS.”
The lawmaker maintained that Nigerians have the right to know the implications of MTN taking a certificate of N2.6 trillion to FIRS for tax waivers on the economy.
“The parliament simply wants to know whether it should sustain the query raised by the Auditor General or absolve the company of the allegations of tax evasion, as it would be wrong to accuse it of such if these records tally with the company’s submission,” he explained.
“The issue says that we should speak to facts and law. You’re here when we asked the Industry Ministry and they said both the local and foreign contents were the certificates they issued to you. However, the Auditor-General says such issuance appears to have been falsified which was the basis of its query to you.”
In her response, MTN’s General Manager, Mrs Yemisi Adeleye, explained that the company has submitted all relevant documents issued by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry reflecting the value of N2.6 trillion given to it.
While responding to questions on the 2016 inspection relating to the capital allowances granted to the company, Mrs Adebayo observed that the company made claims to the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry at the end of the year prompting them to choose a location and inspect, as it was physically impossible for them to inspect thousands of assets across the country.
Hence, the Ministry, based on their selection using supporting documents granted the allowances.
She said what the company had in 2016 was the automated card record bearing Ins and Outs of the team leader, one Mr Ike.
When asked how many people were on the team with Ike who had the access card and inspected assets from the 29th of March to April 4th, she said she couldn’t remember the identities of the Ministry officials as the team members were not captured individually in the record.
She said what they presented to the FIRS was what their security team gave to them.
When asked again if the Ministry wrote the company informing it of the inspection date and the list of team members or just by words of mouth, Mrs Adebayo said that the Ministry formally communicated to that effect.
Also asked how many assets they inspected within the five days, she said she could not recall.
She argued that the most expensive of the company’s infrastructure were warehoused in their switches located in Ojota in Lagos, Port Harcourt, among other places.
While giving details on the claims made by the company for capital allowance, she disclosed that the sum of N18,967,410,769 was claimed in 2016.
She added that in 2017, a logbook was brought back reading Abuja switch with Ike and three others as inspection team members.
According to her, a total sum of N148 billion capital allowance was granted to the company, while N210 billion was approved in 2018 after the visit to the Ojota switch, as well as N190,629,586,000 in 2019 following a visit to the Port Harcourt switch.
When asked if all the assets procured by the company in 2019 were all located at the Port Harcourt switch, she responded in the negative.
She added that in 2020, the Ministry officials visited Abuja switch, another team visited Ojota switch, while another visited Port Harcourt and granted capital allowance worth N219,540,623,545.
When asked if she would agree to give out a value of N219 billion based on one inspection that visited just three locations out of over a thousand locations, she said the company only filed what was approved by the inspection team with the FIRS for consideration.
Oke, in his remarks, reiterated the lawmakers’ resolve to ascertain the patriotic and professional involvement of the Ministry officials, saying that they cannot fold their arms and watch when people whose salaries and allowances were appropriated to do a job failed to carry out their duties under the law.
To this end, the committee resolved that all the officials involved in the inspection from the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry should be made to appear before it.
It also requested the tax records covering the periods under review from both MTN and FIRS for further legislative scrutiny.
Telecommunication giant, MTN, has received the final approval to operate as Momo Payment Service Bank Limited (Momo PSB).
The approval was granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), according to a statement issued on Monday by MTN Secretary, Uro Ukpanah.
“MTN Nigeria Communications PIc (MN Nigeria) announces the receipt of a letter dated 8 April 2022 from the CBN addressed to Momo PSB conveying final approval to commence operations,” the statement partly read.
“The date of commencement will be communicated to the CBN in accordance with its requirements.
“MTN Nigeria affirms its commitment towards the financial inclusion agenda of the CBN and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and we are excited at this opportunity to support its fulfilment.”
MTN Nigeria Plc and Mafab Communications Ltd have emerged the two successful winners of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum auction for the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology to support the delivery of universal broadband services in Nigeria.
In a statement, the Director of Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, revealed that the winners emerged after 11 rounds of bidding that lasted eight hours on Monday in Abuja.
“Three companies, namely MTN, Airtel, and Mafab Communications Limited, had qualified for the auction, having met the requirements stipulated in the Information Memorandum (IM) for the spectrum auction,” he said. “The three companies had also participated in a mock auction held on Friday, December 10, 2021, which served as a precursor to the Main Auction conducted today (Monday, December 13, 2021).
“In an exercise that clearly demonstrated demand outstripping supply, with ascending clock auction system adopted by the commission, the three bidders participated in the intensely competitive auction bid.”
“In the first Round of the auction, the bid price was fixed at $199,374,000.00; $201,367,740.00 at second Round; $204,388,356.10 at third Round; $209,407,962.50 at fourth Round and $215,782,901.30 at the fifth Round.
“The auction prices increased progressively to $224,414,217.43 at the Sixth Round; $231,146,643.96 at the seventh Round; $240, 392,509.71 at the eighth Round; $251, 210,172.65 at the ninth Round; and $263,700,050.00 at the Round 10 of the auction exercise,” Adinde narrated.
According to him, the auction process reached its peak at round 11 when the bid price graduated to $275,904,886.25 with all the three bidders still actively participating.
The NCC spokesman said the main stage of the auction, however, ended at the conclusion of the 11th round, with Airtel listing an exit bid of $270,000,000, while MTN posted an exit bid of $273,000,000, giving way to the assignment stage.
At this point, Airtel had dropped off from the race having posted a lower exit bid, thus leaving Mafab and MTN as winners of the two available lots.
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NCC Executive Vice Chairman and Auction Overseer, Professor Umar Danbatta, announced the results of the auction exercise.
He noted that the commission had published a public notice on its decision to award two lots of 100 megahertz (MHz) Time Division Duplex (TDD) available in the 3.5 GHz band through an auction process to support the delivery of ubiquitous broadband services for the deployment of 5G network in Nigeria.
“Subsequently, an information memorandum was issued on November 10, 2021, in which bid applications for the available spectrum lots were invited,” Danbatta said. “By the deadline for receipt of applications on November 29, 2021, the commission received applications from three licensed telecoms companies, viz: Airtel Networks Limited, Mafab Communications Limited, and MTN Communications Nigeria Limited.”
“The auction held successfully today, Monday, December 13, 2021, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja with the three bidders competing for the available two slots. The commission adopted the ascending clock auction format which ended after round 11 and proceeded to the assignment stage.
“It is my pleasure to announce that at the end of the auction, Mafab Communications Limited and MTN Communications Nigeria Limited emerged as provisional licence winners,” the NCC chief declared.
The winning bid price for the auction, according to Danbatta, is $273,600,000 for each lot of 100 MHz TDD and the provisional winners are expected to pay the winning bid price, less the intention-to-bid deposit by February 24, 2022.
He said the auction process was efficient, fair, credible, well-organised, and transparent and was designed to deliver the ideal outcome
The NCC chief congratulated the winners and thanked the Federal Government for its support and commitment to the deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria, which, he said, would bring substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility, and capacity as well as low-latency capabilities to communications services in the country.
Sequel to the successful auction by the two winners, he said in line with the processes outlined in the IM, the provisional winners have proceeded to the assignment stage.
“MTN Communications Nigeria Plc made an offer of $15,900,000 for the assignment of a preferred Lot, while Mafab Communications Limited made an offer of $11,120,000 for a preferred Lot,” Danbatta said.
“Thence, MTN Communications Nigeria Plc, having made the highest offer was given the right to select its most preferred Lot and it selected Lot 1 (3500-3600 MHz), while Lot 2 (3700-3800 MHz) is consequentially assigned to Mafab Communications Limited at no extra cost.”
The three qualified bidders met NCC’s criteria for the licensing process for the 3.5 gigahertz spectrum which is required for 5G deployment.
According to the commission, the stage is now set for the three companies to participate in the Main Auction as well as in the mandatory Mock Auction process, which will come as a precursor to the Main Auction.
See full statement of the NCC below…
Consistent with its regulatory principle of open and transparent auction, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that three telecoms companies have qualitied as approved bidders of the forthcoming 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz) spectrum auction for the deployment of Fifth generation (5G) networks in the country.
The qualified bidders that have met the criteria for participation in the licensing process of 3.5Ghz spectrum, including payment of the stipulated Intention to Bid Deposit (IBD) as outlined in the Information Memorandum (IM), are MTN Nigeria Plc., Mafab Communications Limited and Airtel Networks Limited.
Consequently, the stage is now set for the three companies to participate in the Main Auction as well as in the mandatory Mock Auction process, which will come as a precursor to the Main Auction.
The Commission has also reaffirmed the dates for the conduct of both the Mock Auction and the Main Auction. The Mock Auction is scheduled to hold on Friday, December 10, 2021 at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja by 11:00 a.m., while the Main Auction will hold on Monday, December 13, 2021 at the same venue and same time.
MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (MTN Nigeria) has announced that the public offer to retail investors for the sale of up to 575 million shares held in MTN Nigeria by MTN Group will be priced at N169.00 per share (the offer).
The offer will open at 8 am on 1 December and close at 5pm on 14 December 2021, said a statement signed on Tuesday by the Company Secretary, Uto Ukpanah.
The minimum subscription is for 20 shares and lots of 20 shares thereafter, and the offer includes an incentive in the form of one free share for every 20 shares purchased, subject to a maximum of 250 free shares per investor.
The incentive is open to retail investors who buy and hold the shares allotted to them for at least 12 months, post the allotment date.
The Retail Offer, according to the statement, is the first in Nigeria to be delivered via a digital platform. By using the power of technology, it aims to facilitate the maximum possible participation by Nigerian investors.
“The success and growth of MTN Nigeria are intrinsically linked to that of Nigeria and Nigerians,” said MTN Nigeria Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, while commenting on the price announcement. “Therefore, we are very excited to offer Nigerians the opportunity to own shares in MTN Nigeria.
“Our journey to becoming the largest network in Nigeria has been humbling, but we still have a long way to go. There is much more to do to support the evolution of an inclusive digital economy, and we continue to invest as we evolve into a truly digital operator, capable of seamlessly integrating value across the evolving telecommunications, digital and fintech segments.”
MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Mupita, said the offer aligns with MTN Group’s strategic priority to create shared value.
“In the last 20 years, we have worked diligently to connect 68 million subscribers onto voice and data networks and ensure that we deliver the benefits of a modern connected life,” he said. “With this offer, we will contribute to the further deepening of Nigeria’s equity capital markets.
“It is the first in a series of transactions as the MTN Group implements its plans to ensure broad-based ownership by reducing its shareholding in MTN Nigeria to 65% over time. We thank the Nigerian authorities for the support we as MTN Group have received in the various approvals related to this offer, and remain committed to playing our humble role in driving digital and financial inclusion across the country over the medium-term.”
Investors will be able to submit applications through the Issuing Houses, Receiving Agents (authorised stockbrokers and Nigerian banks), and online via a unique digital application platform, PrimaryOffer, administered by the Nigerian Exchange Limited.
The House of Representatives Committee on Finance has asked the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to submit receipts of the tax payments made by MTN to the agency for 2007 and between 2010 and 2017.
The request comes as the committee observed during its interaction with the agency on Wednesday that MTN is indebted to the tune of ₦451 billion.
The FIRS chairman, Mr Muhammed Nami, however, told the committee that MTN is already paying the taxes owed government in instalments.
Nami further disclosed that the sum of ₦10.104 trillion revenue is expected to be realized in the 2022 fiscal year, with the formal capturing of Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms into the country’s tax net.
Nami, who was speaking during the interactive session on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), also unveiled plans for the introduction of Road Tax.
“On the issue of a digital economy, the FIRS has a department called International Tax Department which is handling such cases,” he said.
“Twitter and others are already registering with us. That is why in our revenue projections, we are raising it from N5 trillion in 2021 to N10 trillion in 2022. We expect the impact of those registrations to take effect.”
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its telecoms sector report says active internet subscribers grew from 143.63million in Q1 to 151.51 million subscribers in Q2 2020.
This reflecting a 4.59 percent increase in voice subscription quarter on quarter.
“Telecoms data for Q2 and Q3 2020 reflected that a total of 196,242,456 and 205,252,058 subscribers were active on voice as against 189,282,796 in Q1 2020. This represented a 4.59% increase in voice subscriptions QoQ.
“Similarly, a total of 143,636,816 and 151,512,122 subscribers were active on the internet as against 136,203,231 in Q1 2020. This represented a 5.48% growth in internet subscriptions QoQ. Lagos State has the highest number of subscribers in terms of active voice per State in Q3 2020 and is closely followed by Kano and Ogun States respectively while Bayelsa and Ekiti States have the least number of subscribers,” the NBS explained.
The report also shows that Lagos State recorded the highest number of subscribers in terms of active voice and internet in the quarter under review with MTN having the highest share of subscriptions.
This was closely followed by Kano and Ogun States respectively while Bayelsa and the Ebonyi States had the least number of subscribers.
MTN had the highest share of subscriptions. This is closely followed by GLO, AIRTEL, and EMTS respectively.
The Private Telecommunications and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PTECSSAN) has threatened to embark on a two-week industrial action over the alleged anti-labour practices by the management of MTN Nigeria.
The union, which is an affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), issued the warning in a statement on Tuesday.
It also vowed to disrupt the services of the telecommunications company nationwide after several attempts to resolve the issues failed.
According to PTECSSAN, the issues bother on the remuneration of workers, exit packages for long-term staff, employee relations practices, and alleged abuse of expatriate quota, amongst others.
It accused MTN of disregarding its employees in the country, saying such an action was contrary to the core values preached by the organisation.
“MTN practices an unwholesome, insensitive, and discriminatory structure in the emoluments of some categories of workers.
“Workers on the same job level earn disproportionately. In many cases, members of a team earn more than their team leads and even more than their direct managers,” the union alleged.
It added, “Non-payment of severance benefits at the point of departure of employees after long years of dedicated and uninterrupted services to the company has become a deep frustrating practice to the live long guarantees for workers in MTN.
“The company claims it has not been paying exiting employees severance benefits, hence, it cannot be a matter for negotiation with the union despite the fact that social dialogue demands that all matters without exception concerning workers in the workplace are subject to negotiation.
“The rate at which companies in the telecommunications sector import excessive manpower to the country to do jobs Nigerians are not lacking in competence is alarming. It is becoming pervasive in MTN Nigeria as well.
“We have several expatriates in the company who do exactly what Nigerians do. Most of these expatriates are trained by Nigerians and we still wonder how the permits for these individuals were approved.”
The union warned that if the company fails to yield to its demands or source for another alternative to satisfy their business interests, its proposed strike would be wide and compelling with deep implications for the company’s businesses.
“Once again, we reinstate that if our demands are not fully and appropriately complied with by MTN Nigeria Telecommunications Limited on or before the next 14 days from today, we shall withdraw every guarantee of industrial peace within MTN Nigeria. Services may be disrupted across the nation throughout the network from the midnight of the 24th day of August 2020,” it said.
A Great Place To Work
In his reaction, MTN’s Chief Corporate Services Officer, Tobechukwu Okigbo, stated that the allegations made by the labour union were totally untrue and without any merit.
Okigbo, in a statement sent to Channels Television, insisted that MTN has built a ‘people first’ culture that empowers its employees, values inclusivity and hard work, and instills a responsibility for its customers and communities.
“This is what defines and unites us. MTN cares greatly about all its workers, deploying global best practice people solutions and policies that make MTN Nigeria a great place to work.
“We intentionally invest in our people. Indeed, MTN’s success in Nigeria is as a result of the hard work, commitment, and dedication of all staff, guided by a strong culture of people management,” the statement said.
It added, “Our people/workforce are our most critical competitive advantage and a key differentiator in the marketplace so we take staff welfare, remuneration, and career development seriously.
“We have stringent policies in place that promote meritocracy and protect our employees from all forms of harassment and discrimination and creates a workplace where employees feel valued and safe.”
Recently, the MTN group announced plans to exit the Middle East and focus on the African continent, stating that the Middle East environment was becoming increasingly complex and has contributed less to its earnings.
It explained that the move was part of its medium-term strategy, starting with the sales of its 75 percent stake in MTN Syria.
After the planned exit, the firm’s entire portfolio would amount to 17 subsidiaries in Africa.
Meanwhile, half-year earnings report sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange showed that MTN Nigeria reported a half-year revenue of N638 billion in 2020, compared to N566.9 billion it reported in the same period last year, driven by growth in data revenues in the first and second quarters of the year.
In the second quarter of 2020, total revenue rose by 8.5 per cent to N308.9 billion, driven largely by higher data revenues.
The company explained that the growth in data revenue was driven by growth in data usage and traffic while adding two million new data subscribers in the quarter compared to 1.8 million in the first quarter.
PTECSSAN, however, insisted that the increase in revenue was enough reason why the company should not engage in unfair treatment of its staff in a country that contributes about 60 per cent in its entire Africa operations.
Africa’s largest mobile operator, South African telecoms giant MTN, announced Thursday it would pull out of the Middle East to concentrate on Africa and scrap its interim dividend under a blueprint to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.
“MTN has resolved to simplify its portfolio and focus on its pan-African strategy and will, therefore, be exiting its Middle Eastern assets in an orderly manner over the medium-term,” the group’s president and CEO, Rob Shuter, said in a first-half results statement
“As a first step, we are in advanced discussions to sell our 75% stake in MTN Syria.”
The company which was founded in 1994, lists operations in Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and Iran in its Middle East file, which also includes Afghanistan.
The statement said that in the January to June period, MTN’s subscriber base rose by 10.6 million to 251.5 million compared to end-2019.
Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortisation (ebitda) rose 10.9 percent to 41.8 billion rand ($2.38 billion, 2.01 billion euros).
“MTN delivered strong results for the period against the backdrop of difficult trading conditions, exacerbated by the unprecedented socio and macroeconomic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shuter said.
He singled out strong performances in Ghana and Nigeria as well as a “pleasing turnaround” in South Africa.
However, “no interim dividend (was) declared due to uncertainties resulting from COVID-19 impacts,” it said.
The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has struck out a N3bn fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by telecommunications firm, MTN Nigeria, against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke struck out the suit after being told by Malami’s Counsel, Habibat Ajana that the AGF by a letter dated January 8, 2020, had reviewed the issue against MTN and decided to withdraw its demand letter for a $2bn tax.
MTN’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), responded by saying that having withdrawn the demand letter, his client would drop its fundamental rights suit against the AGF.
In the suit, MTN had asked the court to award N3bn against the AGF for rights infringement.
The telecommunications firm filed the suit to challenge an August 20, 2018 letter written to it by the AGF, demanding $2bn alleged unremitted tax.
The AGF in its letter had accused the MTN of unpaid taxes on foreign payments and imports and had subsequently asked it to pay approximately $2billion in relation to the taxes.
Through its counsel, Olanipekun, MTN had argued that the AGF acted beyond his powers and violated the provisions of Section 36 of the constitution on fair hearing with “the purported revenue assets investigation” he carried out on the firm’s activities from 2007 to 2017.
MTN had also challenged the AGF’s authority to deal with issues around tax and customs duties which it said should be the responsibility of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).