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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

MTN N1.04trn fine: NCC considers leniency

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has acknowledged MTN’s letter of November 2, 2015 where it admitted infraction in its operation and pleaded for leniency, which  is under consideration, ITRealms reports.
NCC, ITRealms recalls, placed a fine of N1.04trillion on MTN Nigeria as a result of violation of Section 20(1) of the Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulation of 2011 which 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 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, ITRealms learnt.
According to the public affairs director at NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, the fine on MTN Nigeria, was done in the interest of the public which has been at the receiving end of security challenges.
On August 4, 2015, he said that 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.
ITRealms gathered that 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.
NCC explqined that the four 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.
Cyriacus Nnaji/ED,OPs
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