NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For Etisalat

NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For EtisalatThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have succeeded in halting an attempt by Etisalat’s creditors to take over the company.

A statement by the spokesman for NCC, Tony Ojobo, said reprieve came for the mobile network operator during a meeting held on Friday.

According to the statement, receivership was completely taken off the table in a meeting that was very productive and constructive.

“The meeting, which held at the CBN Office in Lagos, had the consortium of banks being owed and Etisalat in attendance. The banks and the mobile network operator agreed to concrete actions that will bring all parties closest to a resolution.

“The CBN and NCC were able to secure for Etisalat the necessary oxygen to enable it continue to meet urgent operational expenses.

“CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who chaired the meeting, was firm in declaring what needed to be done by both parties towards a quick resolution. The NCC equally made it clear that everything necessary must be done to protect the 23 million Etisalat subscribers and also protect the telecom industry to prevent potential investors from developing cold feet.

“Meanwhile, in a renewed effort to ensure that Etisalat remains in business while the consortium of banks meet their obligations to their customers, a meeting will hold on March 16 to agree on a payment restructuring path going forward.

“The NCC will lead the CBN in a possible crucial meeting with Etisalat’s shareholders anytime soon,” the statement read.

Fine Settlement: NCC Affirms Receipt Of 50bn Naira From MTN

MTNThe Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has affirmed the Federal Government’s receipt of 50 billion Naira towards settlement of the fine imposed on MTN Nigeria Communications Limited by the Commission.

The commission also affirmed the withdrawal of a suit involving the MTN, NCC and HAGF.

In a statement, the NCC’s Director, Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, said that the official information to the Commission to that effect, was received from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, on Monday.

“The amount was an unconditional good faith payment, on the basis that this sum would be applied towards eventual settlement agreement for payment of the fine imposed by the Commission, where the ongoing negotiations between the Federal Government and the company reaches a final resolution,” the statement by Mr Ojobo read.

The Federal Government’s team for the negotiations is being led by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, while the MTN team is led by a former U.S Attorney General, and Head of Covington & Burling LLP, Washington DC, Mr Eric H. Holder, Jr.

According to the NCC’s statement, the receipt of the amount, and withdrawal of the suit is without prejudice to the final decision of government on the terms of payment being proposed by the company.

On the basis of out of court settlement, the Federal Government team, is expected to deliberate on the merits and demerits of the terms of payment of the fine imposed on the MTN by the Commission for its failure to deactivate invalid SIM Cards as directed by the Commission, an act the NCC said contravened the provisions of the regulation on SIM Card Registration.

MTN Fine: NCC Says It Acted In Public Interest

MTNThe Nigerian Communications Commission has defended the fine of 1.04 trillion slammed on MTN Nigeria explaining it was done in the interest of the public.

This is the first time the NCC has commented on this issue since slapping the telecoms firm with the fine following overwhelming evidence of non-compliance and disregard to the rules of engagement by MTN.

MTN, in a letter of November 2, 2015 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.

In a statement by its Director, Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, the commission added that it has adopted smart regulation in its oversight function in the industry, insisting sanctions are the last resort after all overtures fail but that this does not in any way undermine industry standards and the interest of investors.

NCC Statement

Following the sanctions placed on MTN Nigeria, by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), members of the public have expressed diverse interest as to what actually transpired.

The fine was a result of violation of Section 20(1) of the Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulation of 2011.

Section 20 (1) of Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations 2011 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 N200,000.00 for each unregistered but activated subscription medium.”

The fine of N1.04Trillion on MTN Nigeria by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) was done in the interest of the public which has been at the receiving end of security challenges.

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.

MTN, in a letter of November 2, 2015 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.

The fine that was imposed on MTN was the second within two months after the operators were given a seven-day ultimatum to deactivate all unregistered and improperly registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) Cards. While others complied, MTN did not.

On August 4, 2015, 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 August 14, 2015, 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.

Please recall that four (4) Operators; MTN, Airtel, Globacom and Etisalat, were sanctioned in August for none compliance of the directive to deactivate the improperly registered SIM Cards.  MTN got a fine of N102.2Million, Globacom N7.4Million, Etisalat N7Million and Airtel N3.8Million fine.  Others complied while MTN flouted the fine.

Based on the report of the compliance Audit Team, an Enforcement Team which visited MTN from September 2 – 4, 2015 wherein MTN admitted that the Team confirmed that 5.2million improperly registered SIM Cards were still left active on their network; hence, a contravention of the Regulations was established.

Consistent with the Commission’s enforcement process, MTN was by a letter dated October 5, 2015, given notice to state why it should not be sanctioned in line with the Regulations for failure to deactivate improperly registered SIM Cards that were found to be active at the time of enforcement team’s visit of September 15, 2015.

On October 19, 2015, the Commission received and reviewed MTN’s response and found no convincing evidence why it should not be sanctioned for the established violations.

Accordingly, by a letter dated October 20, 2015 the Commission conveyed appropriate sanctions to MTN in accordance with Regulations 20(1) of the Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulation 2011, to pay the Sum of N200,000.00 only for each of the 5.2million improperly registered SIM Cards.

The statement further averred that:

In order to ensure proper identification of telephone subscribers with their biometric data and in line with international best practice, the Commission came up with a framework for the registration of telephone subscribers in Nigeria.  (Nigerian Communications Commission Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations 2011).

The above Regulations were developed with the full participation of all key industry Stakeholders including all Mobile Network Operators (MNO) in 2011.

The Commission on its part has a statutory responsibility to monitor and enforce compliance to the rules. More so, when national security is at stake.

The statement explained that, National interest is paramount because when lives are lost they cannot be replaced.

As a responsible Regulator, the NCC will not stand by and watch Rules and Regulations for Engagement being flouted by any Operator.

The Commission has adopted a smart regulation in its oversight function in the industry, hence it has always weighed the implications of sanctions that is why it had to place the appropriate sanction accordingly.

The NCC statement further said that sanctions are the last resort after all overtures fail but this does not in any way undermine Industry Standards and the interest of Investors.

Tony Ojobo
Director, Public Affairs
NCC

No Political Party Has Approval For SMS Campaigns – NCC

NCCThe Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it has not given approval to any political party to run Short Messages (SMS) campaigns.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the Commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo, said that the service providers violated NCC rules by failing to get approval from it before running SMS campaigns for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, had on Monday threatened to sue the NCC to challenge the shutdown of some of its fund raising platforms.

The APC launched some of its platforms for raising funds, but the SMS platform with a short code meant to encourage small donors, was shut down last week.

Mr Ojobo said that the NCC remains non partisan and has in the past given approval for the running of SMS campaigns across party lines.

He added that the NCC has continued to receive several complaints from customers over unsolicited messages and is working to track and sanction all those still broadcasting unsolicited text messages.

The press conference was in response to claims by the APC that NCC shut-down its fund raising platforms.

Reasons Why Some GSM Subscribers Cannot Port – NCC

The Director of Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Tony Ojobo on Thursday gave reasons why some GSM subscribers in the country may not be able to port from their current mobile network to a desired one.

One of the major reasons on the list  Mr Ojobo gave while speaking on Channels Television’s programme, Business Morning, was debt recorded against a line.

Porting or mobile number portability enables mobile telephone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network operator to another.

Mr Ojobo said that subscribers who have debts to settle will have their porting requests denied. He also said that sim cards that have not been registered will also not be allowed to port.

He said a porting request is expected to be granted within 48 hours under normal circumstances.

The service which the NCC officially commissioned on 22April has been warmly received by Nigerians as Mr Ojobo revealed that about 4,000 people ported within the first 48 hours of the service being launched.

Telecoms are Perfecting Their Networks To Handle Competition – NCC

The director of publicity with the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Tony Ojobo has explained that due to the Mobile Number Portability (MUP) that will be kicking off on Monday, telecoms are trying to put finishing touches to their networks to be able to cope with the competition that would be unleashed in the industry.

While speaking on Channels television’s breakfast Show Sunrise Daily, Mr Ojobo said the telecoms operators had requested the commission give’s them more time to finalize the testing that are going on, so the commission had to extend it to another 3 weeks.

He explained the MUP is a service platform that will allow a subscriber migrate from one service provider to another provider and still retain the number. The MUP, he claims will give the subscriber leverage to move to another service provider without losing their numbers.

He added that “the revenue that is accurable to any particular network is dependent on the volume, the number of subscribers and the volume of traffic.
He also noted that “if you have a reduction of subscribers in your network it will affect your volume.”