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MTN's reaction to govt's move to break monopoly in telecom sector

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Ghana, Mr Selorm Adadevoh
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Ghana, Mr Selorm Adadevoh

MTN Ghana says it was yet to receive the formal notification on the government's decision to implement new policies in the telecommunications market.

In a statement reacting to a press release on the development issued by the Ministry of Communications, MTN said it "will refrain from making any public statements or comments on this matter" whilst it waits for the formal notification from the regulator, the National Communications Authority (NCA) to assess the details.

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"We would like to reassure our cherished shareholders and customers that our commitment to the delivery of a bold new digital world in Ghana remains intact and they can count on our continued investment in infrastructure and innovative products and services," MTN stated.

"MTN Ghana is focused on providing the enabling technology to support Ghana’s digital economy and drive productivity, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MTN Ghana is a responsible market leader in a highly competitive market.

We remain an ethical business committed to its regulatory obligations while striving to deliver on its belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life."

The government on Sunday announced that it has directed the NCA to enforce provisions of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775) and the National Telecommunications Policy (NTP) to address disparities in market and revenue share in the telecommunications sector.

Following the directive, the NCA will start immediately the implementation of specific policies to ensure a level-playing field for all network operators within the industry, with emphasis on maximising consumer welfare.

This is because the latest reports received from the industry showed a worrying trend that demanded immediate action to correct the growing market imbalance and the creation of a near-monopoly in the industry, the Ministry of Communications said.

MTN for instance currently enjoys almost 75 percent of the telecommunications market share.

Policy

Under the National Telecommunications Policy (NTP) any operator with 40 percent or more market share in voice, data, short messaging service (SMS), and value-added services such as mobile money is considered a significant market power (SMP).

The NCA, in accordance with that, has declared SCANCOM Limited (MTN) as an SMP, and with that designation, the regulator is required to take corrective measures under the law to facilitate more market competition, ensure proper pricing for consumers and facilitate the overall growth of the telecommunications industry.

What NCA will do

To correct the imbalance, the Ministry of Communications in a statement issued on Sunday pointed out that, the NCA would apply measures in exercise of its regulatory mandate, including asymmetrical interconnect rate in favour of the disadvantaged operators, setting of floor/ceiling pricing on all minutes, data, SMS and mobile money, review and approve all pricing by the SMP, as required by law, and require SMP not to have differential prices for on-net and off-net transactions.

It would also ensure various operator vendors were not subject to exclusionary pricing or behaviour, ensure that SMP’s access to information did not disadvantage any value added service of non-SMP operators and require operators to present implementation plans on national roaming services within the next 30 days for execution on or before the next 90 days, the statement said.

It added that the measures were to kick in immediately, and that the NCA was expected to work with all network operators which must cooperate to ensure it was done painlessly.

“We have come a long way in a very dynamic industry which has seen ancestors of all the current operators being the dominant player at one stage. Ghana Telecom, Mobitel, now MTN. Measures taken then to open up the market to ensure fairer competition, though unpleasant to the dominant player then, eventually inured to the benefit of the consumer and resulted in the vibrant telecom sector of today . This will also have the same result over time. It is corrective and not punitive,” the Minister’s statement added.

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Below is a copy of the MTN statement

SCANCOM PLC. (MTN GHANA) RESPONSE TO GOVERNMENT’S NOTICE ON IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW POLICIES IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET

Scancom Plc. (MTN Ghana) has noted media reports concerning a decision by the National Communications Authority (NCA) to implement specific policies to ensure a level-playing field for all network operators within the telecommunications industry.

MTN Ghana respects the NCA’s purview to regulate the telecommunication sector in Ghana based on legislation and best practices.

However, MTN Ghana has not yet received the formal notification from the regulator and awaits this to assess the details.

Until then, MTN Ghana will refrain from making any public statements or comments on this matter.

We would like to reassure our cherished shareholders and customers that our commitment to the delivery of a bold new digital world in Ghana remains intact and they can count on our continued investment in infrastructure and innovative products and services.

MTN Ghana is focused on providing the enabling technology to support Ghana’s digital economy and drive productivity, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MTN Ghana is a responsible market leader in a highly competitive market.

We remain an ethical business committed to its regulatory obligations while striving to deliver on its belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.

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