After a relatively productive year that has seen Nigerian telcos battle with a number of regulatory hurdles, it appears little attention is being paid to some basic directives regarding customers, attracting more regulatory sanctions in the process.
According to the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC’s) Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Report for Q3 2019, it was discovered that Airtel, 9mobile, and Glo, were in contravention of the regulator’s directive on forceful subscription by forcefully subscribing customers to data and Value Added Services (VAS).
Suggested Read: The curious case of an allegedly dying VAS industry
Consequently, Airtel, 9mobile, Glo were fined ₦2.4 billion ($6.6 million), ₦164.36 million ($454,661), and ₦232.6 million ($643,430) respectively.
Recall that in Q1 2019 the NCC fined Airtel with a sum ₦121 million ($334,716), for contravening the regulator’s Quality of service provisions by disconnecting an Interconnect carrier — Exchange Telecommunications limited —, without getting the necessary approval, while 9mobile was handed a ₦5 million fine for the forceful automatic renewal of subscriptions for its customers.
Also, both telcos were fined ₦5 million ($13,831) each for violation of the commission’s Do-Not-Disturb rule — incidents which both telcos blamed on technical issues — bringing the total fines on both telcos to ₦136 million ($376,210).
Suggested Read: NCC slams a combined fine of ₦136 million on Airtel and 9mobile
With the recent sanction, the total amount of the NCC’s fines on telcos rounds up to a sum of ₦2.97 billion ($8.2 million) in just nine months in 2019.
Amongst the telcos, Airtel, fined in both instances alongside 9mobile, was the hardest hit with ₦2.501 billion, followed by Glo and 9mobile at ₦232.6 million ($643,430) and ₦174.4 million respectively.
MTN, on the back of completing payments for the fine earlier imposed by the NCC, recently settled its case with the Attorney General of the federation, and appears to have escaped any major sanction between Q1 – Q3 2019.
Considering that some telcos were fined in Q3 for recurrent offences, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of these fines, but it’s however encouraging that customer’s complaints are given utmost importance by Nigeria’s telecom regulator.