Photograph — DailyTrust

Two mobile network operators in Nigeria, Airtel and 9Mobile have been sanctioned by the Nigerian Communications Commissions (NCC) to pay a total of $350 344.82 for violating some of the commission’s regulations. This was revealed in the NCC’s 2019 first quarter enforcement report.

The commission accused these telecommunication companies of breaking the Do-Not-Disturb directive, automatic renewal of data subscription, as well as wrongful disconnection of an interconnect carrier. In July 2016, the regulator introduced 2442, a Do-Not-Disturb shortcode that stops users from receiving unsolicited text messages. Also, a toll-free line was provided for consumers to report cases where their activation was not validated.

“In the course of monitoring compliance with the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) Direction, the Commission discovered that EMTS & Airtel subscribed and billed 13 and 56 MSISDNs respectively on full DND to Value Added Service (VAS) in the contravention of the DND Direction,” the report stated.

Initially, in 2018, the telecom regulator had issued a directive to operators in order to check frequent automatic and unsolicited renewal of customer data packages, alongside forceful subscription of customers to value-added services.

Also, the commission said it found Airtel guilty in its Quality of Service regulation by disconnecting an interconnect carrier, Exchange Telecommunications Limited, without getting the necessary approval from NCC.

“Airtel Networks Ltd having contravened, the provisions of the Quality of Service (QoS) 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 ₦121, 000,000 to the Commission.”

Earlier this year, the commission fined the four major network operators in the country a total of N74m for various infractions which includes SIM registration infractions, unapproved promos and advertisements, and failure to provide information on collapsed towers.

Also, in 2015, NCC imposed a $3.9 billion fine on MTN for failing to deactivate 5.2 million incomplete subscriber identification module (SIM) cards on its network.

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