MTN Nigeria, the local mobile unit of South Africa’s MTN Group, has been handed a USD90 million fine by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for falling short of quality of service standards. The Guardian Nigeria quotes the NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, as saying that the mobile operator failed to meet key performance indicators in December last year, and has been given until 3 April to pay the penalty. Earlier this month MTN Nigeria pledged to invest USD1.5 billion in 2013 to improve and expand its 2G and 3G mobile network infrastructure through the rollout of 5,000 2G and 4,000 3G base stations.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that Nigeria’s four GSM operators were fined a combined NGN1.17 billion (USD7.3 million) for poor service quality in May 2012; MTN and UAE-based Etisalat each received a penalty of NGN360 million, while Airtel Nigeria, which is owned by Indian telco Bharti Airtel, and local operator Globacom were fined NGN270 million and NGN180 million, respectively. In a bid to ease network congestion, the NCC has banned telecoms firms from launching promotions and lotteries. The operators, however, have argued that capacity constraints alone are not to blame for poor service, stating that roadworks, sabotage of network infrastructure, multiple taxation and a lack of electricity have been partly responsible for their failure to meet quality measures.