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Business News of Saturday, 19 January 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Mobile Network Operators challenge NCA fine

The Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country which were collectively fined a total of GH¢34,065,000 by the National Communications Authority (NCA) for various infractions in their licence conditions have refused to pay the penalty.
Subsequently, they have challenged the basis of the fine and presented their petition to the Electronic Communications Tribunal for redress.

Sources within the sector told the Daily Graphic that the telecom companies were not clear with the course of the action taken by the NCA and, therefore, were determined to get a better understanding and a clearer picture of the action before taking the next line of action.

It said, much as they, as telcos, believed there might have been some disruptions in service to consumers, there were equally a number of factors that caused those disruptions and the “NCA is aware of them”.

They mentioned some of the disruptions to be fibre cuts by some road contractors all over the country and cable theft among other things and noted that “we do not intend under any circumstances to disrupt services to our customers”.

“We cherish our customers and even at a time when there is intense competition between us, we do not have to toy with our customers and lose them”, the source added.

NCA sources

Meanwhile, another source from the industry regulator has admitted to having received the individual petitions from the affected telcos on the fines.

It said the NCA had compiled all the concerns and was almost ready to issue a response through the media by close of the week or early next week.

It declined further comments on the matter except to admit that it was also aware of the petition to the Electronic Communications Tribunal and would respond appropriately when called to defend its action.

The fines

Late last year, the NCA sanctioned all four MNOs for poor services to consumers.

The four network operators sanctioned for their non-compliance with various Quality of Service (QoS) requirements were AirtelTigo, Glo, MTN and Vodafone.

A statement issued by the NCA said the four had been fined a total of GH¢34,065,000.

AirtelTigo is to pay GH¢11,635,000, Glo, GH¢4,460,000, MTN GH¢9,080,000 and Vodafone GH¢8,890,000.

The NCA regularly undertakes QoS monitoring to determine MNOs compliance with their licence conditions and to ensure that consumers receive the quality service they pay for.

According to the NCA, in the first quarter of 2018, the authority undertook QoS monitoring of all MNOs in the Greater Accra, Eastern, Western and Northern regions and two districts in the Ashanti Region in the phase one of a nationwide monitoring exercise.

The monitoring enabled the authority to determine the MNOs which were unable to meet their Licence Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in some district capitals with regards to QoS; Obligations for Coverage, Data, Voice and Speech Quality.

It said as had been the practice, the NCA subsequently held reconciliation meetings with all four mobile network operators and they were given three months ending, August 21, 2018 to cure the infractions detected.

The NCA said at the end of the deadline, it embarked on a follow up monitoring to ascertain if the QoS infractions recorded had been resolved. However, the follow up monitoring revealed that though the key performance indicators (KPIs) in some district capitals had improved, the MNOs were not able to meet the KPI thresholds as per their licences. The NCA as a result sanctioned the MNOs.