The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says that scores of telecoms companies have been sanctioned over alleged contravention of the industry regulator’s rules.
The affected companies, which include some of the big GSM networks and smaller telecoms companies, were alleged to have been sanctioned for illegal use of frequency spectrum, flouting of number porting rules and charging of non-approved price plans, among others.
NCC announced that the sweeping enforcement actions carried out last year affected companies like Globacom, MTN, Steam Broadcasting Limited, Netcom Africa, Swift Talk Limited, Multi-dimensions Limited, Zeta- web Nigeria Limited and IPNX Nigeria Limited, among others.
The telecoms regulator says it derives the powers to “monitor all significant matters relating to the performance of all licensed telecoms service providers” from Section 89 of the Nigerian Communication Act 2003.
The NCC Q4 2014 Enforcement Report, released by the agency, details the outcome of the enforcement actions as follows:
Globacom Directed to Reverse The Appointment of a Sole Bulk SMS Aggregator on its Network
The Commission’s attention was drawn by Value Added Service Providers regarding the appointment of Value Added Network Solutions Ltd (VANSO) by Globacom to act as sole Bulk SMS aggregator for other VAS providers within its networks.
Having reviewed this issue within the context of the Commission’s Guidelines on Short Code operations in Nigeria (2011) and given due consideration to the need for fair competition in the market and to facilitate the development of the VAS market, the Commission directed Globacom to immediately reverse its decision so as to provide a level playing field for all service providers.
MTN’s Violation of Tariff Plan Approval and Obligation of Dominance: MTN iPulse Tariff Plan
Following the Commission’s routine compliance checks on approved tariff plans of network operators, it was discovered that MTN is charging its subscribers on the MTN Ipulse a tariff of 1kobo per second or 60 kobo per minute which is below the current Mobile Termination Rate (MTR) of N6.40\minute.
Further investigation revealed that this tariff offering has no regulatory approval and also in breach of its obligation as a dominant operator in the voice segment of the Nigerian telecoms market.
Consequently, the Commission has commenced enforcement process regarding this material breach in accordance with Section 111 NCA, 2003 and Paragraph 4 (2) of the Enforcement Regulations, 2005.
Sanction Against Webb Fontaine Nigeria Limited on The Illegal Utilisation of 5.4GHz Micro Wave Links
The Commission discovered that Webb Fontaine Nig. Ltd was providing Internet Services and utilizing micro wave links without requisite authorization since 2010.
Consequently, the company was fined the sum of Two Hundred and Sixty-Six Million, Four Hundred and Sixteen Thousand Naira(N266, 416,000.00) for providing communications service without requisite operational and frequency license.
In addition they were directed to immediately commence process of regularization their operations.
Enforcement Action Against Illegal Users of 5.4GHz Frequency Spectrum
The Commission carried out enforcement actions in December 2014 against the following companies in Lagos for the use of the 5.4 GHz spectrum without requisite authorization:
Steam Broadcasting Limited
Swift Talk Limited
Zeta-web Nigeria Limited
IPNX Nigeria Limited
However, the Commission has directed all these companies to regularize their usage of the frequency band or risk regulatory sanction accordingly.
Pre-Enforcement Notice to Telnet Nigeria Limited
Following the Commission’s compliance check, it was discovered that the under listed licenses of Telnet Nigeria Limited have expired without any renewal contrary to the provisions of section 31 of the NCA 2003:
Internet Service Provider (ISP) – (Expired in 2001)
sales & Installation (S&I) – (Expired in 2007)
International Data Access (IDA) -( Expired in 2009)
Further investigations revealed that the company was involved in the installation and management of 5.8 GHz radios without the requisite license. In view of the above, a pre-action notice was issued to Telnet Nigeria Limited directing it to regularize its licenses on or before January 13, 2015 or risk enforcement action, including prosecution in line with section 31 NCA 2003.
Pre-Enforcement Notice on Provision of Automated Vehicular Tracking System (AVS) Without Authorization
The Commission conducted a compliance check regarding the provision of automated vehicular tracking services and discovered that the following companies were providing this service without requisite authorization:
1.Own Networks Limited,
Collino Integrated services