NCC Slams N2.8bn Fine On Telcos Over Data Renewal

Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC, NCC

Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC, NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Friday, slammed three leading mobile telecommunication companies Airtel, MTN and Globacom a sum of N2, 794,022,000 due to their disregard for the rule of operation which bars them from automatically renewing data for their customers.

According to NCC latest Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement report; a recent audit of the networks revealed that the three operators forcefully subscribed some customers to Data and Value Added Services.

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This is in contravention of the Commission’s Direction on Forceful Subscription.

From the report, Airtel may have committed the infraction on a large number of subscribers; as the telco is to pay the largest chunk of the total fine.

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According to NCC, Airtel is to pay a fine of N2.3 billion; while MTN and Globacom are to pay N164.3 million and N232.5 million respectively.

“During an audit exercise carried out by the Commission from September 25-28, 2019; it was discovered that Airtel, MTN and Globacom forcefully subscribed some customers to Data and Value Added Services; in contravention of the Commission’s Direction on Forceful Subscription.

“Checks revealed that some refunds have been effected by the operators along with forwarded documentation. While the letters conveying the fines; which include Airtel – N2,397,084,000; MTN – N164,362,000 and Globacom – N232,576,000, have been sent,” the regulator stated.

Speaking at a recent forum, the Director of Enforcement and Compliance Monitoring at NCC; Mr. Efosa Idehen, said the regulator had observed infractions in the area of data auto-renewal and was investigating it.

“Automatic renewal of data is an illegality and we are looking into it. Very soon, you will see us take action,” he had said.

Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, had also noted that aside from the N5 million fine that awaits violation of the auto-renewal directive; each day attracts an additional N500, 000 if the mandate is not adhered to.

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