The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday wielded the big stick by sanctioning four mobile telecommunications operators for contravening the ban on promotions and lotteries on their respective networks.
Airtel Networks Limited, Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited (Etisalat), Globacom Limited and MTN Communications Nigeria Limited are expected to pay a total sum of N22 million being the cumulative amount in fine and sanctions as placed by the telecoms regulator.
MTN Nigeria Communications Limited is to pay N10 million on account of five promotions at N2 million for each promotion while Etisalat is to pay N6 million for three promotions in its network. Airtel is to pay N4 million
for running two promotions against the ban while Globacom will pay N2 million for one promotion.
The NCC said all the telcos have seven days to pay their respective sanction amounts from date of receipt of the sanction notice on February 22, 2013, and are liable to payment of the sum of N1 million for any day that the contravention persists.
The notice of the sanctions, signed by the commission’s director of legal and regulatory services, Josephine Amuwa, said “in the event of further non-compliance with the ban, and or refusal to pay the sanction amount within the stipulated time, the commission shall have no other option than to impose stiffer penalties in accordance with the powers of the commission, including but not limited to payment of N1 million for each day that the contravention persists”.
The notice stated that the
failure of the service providers to discontinue the promotions in accordance with the commission’s directives is a direct contravention of Guidelines on Adverts and Promotions, as well as the Nigerian Communications (Enforcement Processes, etc) Regulations 2005. The commission had in a letter dated November 8, 2012, directed all the licensees to discontinue all promotions and lotteries running on their networks with immediate effect.
The ban, according to NCC, covered proposed and approved promotions and lotteries after the commission was inundated with several complaints from consumers and stakeholders against various promotions in the various networks.
Sanctions on MTN were as a result of five promotions. They are: free airtime for MTN to MTN calls (8a.m – 5p.m), MTN to MTN SMS
and free MB for data. Dial *559#, free N100.00 airtime for MTN to MTN calls, airtime bonus valid for life. Dial *559#, MTN Super Saver, get 500 percent, bonus valid till midnight. Dial *507#, and recharge with N100.00 today and get N500 FREE credit instantly. Hurry and recharge before January 22nd.
In the case of Etisalat, three promotions that attracted it sanctions include: buy a MIFI device and get 1GB free for six months, buy a router device and get 50 MB free data spread over four months, get 30 percent instant bonus on every plan subscription/renewal over 200MB. On the other hand, Airtel is being sanctioned for two promotions: dongle and MIFI offerings and reverse auction service. Globacom’s contravention is for one promotion: buy Samsung Galaxy SIII, or Galaxy Note II and get free 500 MB on activation, and free 100MB X 6 months.
BEN UZOR JR