MTN increases payment on N300b fine to N80 billion
• NCC confirms receipt
• Firm pays N18.96b for broadband licence
Telecommunications firm, MTN has said it has paid additional N30 billion to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as part of the N330 billion fine slammed on it for contravening regulatory orders in the country.
The new N30 billion now increases the payment made by the South African firm on the fine till date to N80 billion, after an earlier N50 billion paid on February 24, which was done in ‘Good Faith.’
Meanwhile, NCC has confirmed receipt of the additional N30 billion from MTN.
According to agreement reached by NCC and MTN earlier in the month in Abuja, MTN was expected to pay N30 billion into NCC’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 30 days from the date of the agreement dated June 10, 2016.
Other dates of payments include: March 31, 2017 (N30 billion); March 31, 2018 (N55 billion); December 31, 2018 (N55 billion); March 31, 2019 (N55 billion) and the balance will be in May 31, 2019 (N55 billion).
In another development, MTN in a statement made available to journalists, yesterday, said NCC has declared it winner of its latest auction for a 10-year frequency spectrum licence for the 2.6GHz band, which guarantees superior performance for wireless networks, especially 4G LTE services.
The NCC, according to the statement, had earlier confirmed that MTN’s bid was in full compliance with the relevant provisions of the Information Memorandum (IM) for the exercise in which MTN emerged as sole approved bidder.
Although Nigeria is one of 28 African countries that currently offer 4G/LTE services, the rate of penetration is restricted to a few major cities. As such, MTN’s success in this auction, according to market watchers, is a big boost to its plan to deliver global mobile broadband and LTE 4G services to over 60 million customers in Nigeria.
The telecommunications firm said it also plans to use FDD networks in addition to its existing WIMAX over TDD networks, as this provides for greater consistency with existing 2G and 3G deployments.
MTN Nigeria Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ferdi Moolman stated that “after complying with all the requirements for the 2.6GHz auction and making the licence payment of N18.96 billion to the NCC, MTN has been issued a letter of award. With the 2.6 GHz band, we expect to roll out and provide the full range of LTE services to Nigerians, empowering Nigeria with the latest mobile broadband technology.”
The award of the spectrum by the NCC was further to an open, transparent and competitive process in which all operators – local and foreign; enjoyed equal and unfettered rights of participation in line with the NCC’s desire for transparency and ensuring a level playing field for all.
The NCC has described this spectrum as a significant trigger for a broadband revolution that will unlock benefits such as greater coverage, access, affordability and innovation, with the customer at the centre of these gains.
Moolman said: “Indeed, MTN is fully aligned and supports the NCC’s objective to deliver broadband services to present and future generations of subscribers, in line with the National Broadband Plan of 2013.
“This licence acquisition further demonstrates MTN’s abiding faith in the future of Nigeria and the resilience of the Nigerian economy. MTN continues to believe in Nigeria and we have expressed this belief in the level of our investment, which currently stands at approximately $15 billion and counting. We strongly believe that there is need for significant levels of investment in broadband infrastructure and services to truly launch Nigeria into the information age. We are honoured to be the arrowhead.
“In addition, I am pleased to announce that the first payment of N30 billion in the terms of settlement has already been disbursed to the NCC. In addition to the earlier payment of N50 billion which we paid in good faith and without prejudice on February 24. This means we have now paid a total of N80 billion,” Moolman stated.