The country’s biggest operator has been slapped with a fine of more than N1 trillion for failing to deactivate unregistered subscriber indentify module (SIM) cards on their network, in line with directives by NCC.
It is the biggest fine NCC has imposed in history.
The Chairman of the Association of Licensed telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo said such sanctions could impact on profitability.
“I don’t know how NCC arrived at the huge amount as a fine. But I think government should urgently intervene because it could affect further investments in the sector. It is disincentive to investors and would have negative impact on the sector as a whole,” Gbenga said.
MTN was imposed a fine of N200 000 per SIM card.
The fine applied to more than 5 million SIM cards applied.
The President of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON),Lanre Ajayi, condemned the sanction as “shocking”.
“The sanction is unacceptable in a telecommunications industry that is still gasping for foreign investment to achieve pervasive telecoms services,” said Ajayi.
“I believe strongly that there is nothing wrong in a regulator imposing a sanction on erring operator to ensure sanity in the market but when such a regulatory tool is being abused, it calls for alarm. The amount imposed on MTN is just, to say the least, outrageous and monumental,” said Ajayi.
NCC has justified the fine arguing MTN had been given time to deactivate the unregistered SIM cards.
The regulator has previously fined mobile operators for alleged poor services.
– CAJ News