September 29, 2020

MTN to sue NCA over attempts to ‘disrupt’ its market share

Telecommunications giant, MTN Ghana, has made known its intent to contest the National Communications Authority’s decision to break its monopoly after declaring the network operator as a Significant Market Power (SMP).

This comes after the Ministry of Communications earlier this month directed the National Communications Authority (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.

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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 maximizing consumer welfare as the growing dominance of MTN “has impacted negatively on competition and consumer choice, necessitating corrective action.”

Initially, MTN in a statement said it had not received any formal notification from the NCA on the matter, but said it respects the NCA’s mandate to regulate the sector as long as it is in line with standard practice.

But in a statement issued on Friday 26th June, 2020,  MTN Ghana says although there are ongoing discussions with the regulatory authority to decide the way forward, NCA has already began implementation of the specified policies, hence, its decision to finally seek redress at the law court, after it was officially notified of the decision.

“While these engagements have been largely encouraging, the NCA continues with implementation of the specified interventions. As such, MTN Ghana has after much consultation, and as a last resort, made the difficult decision to resort to the Law Courts for redress in the form of a judicial review of NCA’s decision, to ensure the observance of the requirements of procedural fairness.”

Click here for the full statement:

Industry watchers criticize the move 

Following the announcement, some industry watchers have appealed to government to tread cautiously with its plans to implement some policies to limit any market imbalance in that sector.

They also cautioned government not to subjectively use regulation against law abiding businesses They say the move appears to be one that will punish innovative and successful businesses.

Breaking MTN’s dominance not a punishment – Telecoms Analyst

But a Telecoms Analyst, Patrick Boateng, has said the decision by government to provide a level-playing field for all network operators and break the dominance of MTN Ghana in the telecommunications sector is not a punishment.

He said the move is to create an equal space for all industry players and forestall negative competition.

Mr. Boateng said, “the intention here is not to punish the SMP, but to create a market space where everyone, the industry players who are big investors, government, consumers and other players have a fair chance in prospering. Also, considering that when you are in monopoly the monopoly might behave in its own interest which may not necessarily be in the interest of consumers or anybody else.’

Source: Business