MTN hit with Ghana fine: report

MTN has been slapped with a GHS300,000 (R1.37 million) fine in Ghana for violating a quality service standards prescribed by the National Communications Authority (NCA), the Business & Financial Times has reported.

Shares in MTN Group declined R2.25 or 1.32% to R168.71 in the afternoon session on the JSE after it was also reported that the company risks losing its licence in the Ivory Coast if it does not improve its levels of service.

The All Share Index added  0.52% to 40,035 points.

The government also plans to ensure that the country’s seven operators are at least 15% locally owned, information technology and communications minister Bruno Kone said, as reported by Reuters.

“Within six months we will take stock of our agreements, our commercial agreements, technical agreements and financial agreements of all the operators with the state regulator of Ivory Coast,” Kone said during a visit to telcoms operator MTN in Abidjan.

“I can tell you already, the head of state is encouraging us, instructing us even, to shut down all operators not up to date,” he said.

Five telecoms firm in Ghana were fined a total amount of GHS900,000 by the NCA, with MTN Ghana and Glo Ghana deemed the worst offenders, with the Business & Financial citing offenses including call set up time, congestion and signalling traffic.

In March the NCA pointed to 26.47 million subscribers in Ghana, with MTN accounting for close on half, at 12,024 million.

MTN intraday 7 May 2013
MTN intraday trade, 7 May 2013

However, operators in the country have been at loggerheads with the national regulator over the past while. In December, the NCA ordered MTN’s operation in the country, Scancom, to cease adding new customers with immediate effect due to the poor quality of its network.

The NCA said in a statement that it has had to engage Scancom (MTN Ghana), on several occasions, on issues of quality of service degradation (i.e. network reliability, network availability, call drop, call set-up, denial of service etc) being experienced by consumers of mobile services.

The watchdog however, lifted its ban on MTN in February.

In a quarterly update at the end of April, MTN said its Ghana operation increased subscribers by 2.5% QoQ, adding 290,000 subscribers.

It said that a strong performance in the data market supported ARPU, with data subscribers reaching 4.1 million and data revenue increasing 67.3% in local currency YoY.

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MTN hit with Ghana fine: report