Two major network operators in the country, Airtel and 9mobile, have been slammed with a total fine of N136m by the Nigerian Communications Commissions for violating various industry regulations, a report by Punch has revealed.
The NCC, in its 2019 first quarter enforcement report, stated that the network providers flouted different industry regulations such as automatic renewal of data subscription, wrongful disconnection of an interconnect carrier and breaking the Do-Not-Disturb directive.
The commission said it found Airtel wanting in its Quality of Service regulation by disconnecting an interconnect carrier, Exchange Telecommunications Limited, without getting the necessary approval.
The telecoms regulator said it had thus imposed a total fine of N121m on Airtel.
The NCC said, “Airtel Networks Limited, having contravened the provisions of the Quality of Service Regulations, 2013 and Enforcement Processes Regulations, 2005 by disconnecting Exchange Telecommunications Limited without the commission’s approval, was sanctioned on March 28, 2019 to pay the sum of N121,000,000 to the commission.”
Airtel, which is Nigeria’s third-largest network operator, together with 9mobile, was found by the NCC to have placed some subscribers who had opted for full DND on Value Added Service.
The report revealed that the two operators were asked to pay N5m each to the commission for the contravention that affected 13 subscribers of 9mobile and 56 Airtel customers.
The regulator had introduced the 2442 Do-Not-Disturb short-code activation for subscribers not interested in receiving unsolicited text messages, while a toll-free line was provided for consumers to report issues related to unsolicited messages and data renewals, among others.
The Director, Zonal Operations, NCC, Mrs Amina Shehu, at a forum had urged the consumers “to be ambassadors of the commission by helping to pass the information and education they had received at the event to other telecoms consumers who may not be aware of such consumer-centric initiatives.”
Also in March this year, the telecom regulator also said it received a complaint of automatic data renewal from a 9mobile subscriber, which it investigated and fined the telcom N5m for violating its directive.
“The complaint was investigated and found 9mobile to have breached the directive on automatic renewal of data subscription. In its response, 9mobile said that the breach was as a result of a previously undetected and isolated failure on its data subscription platform, which was not acceptable by the commission.
“Based on the foregoing, a notice of sanction dated March 19, 2019 was sent to 9mobile for the sum N5,001,000,” the report stated.
The telecoms regulator last year had issued a directive to all network providers to desist from carrying out automatic or unwarranted renewal of data package without their consent and forcefully subscribing consumers to VAS services.
According to the NCC, the penalty for forcefully subscribing consumers to the VAS service without their consent will attract a fine of N5m.