MTN heads to court to quash NCA’s Dominant/SMP declaration

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MTN Ghana has dragged the National Communication Authority to court over the decision to declare MTN as a Dominant/Significant Market Power (SMP), a move that essentially calls for special regulatory restrictions to limit the company’s growth, performance, innovativeness and its competitiveness in the telecoms market.

According to MTN, even though it recognizes the efforts of the NCA in ensuring balance in the sector, the mode of its implementation is not only unlawful but against international conventions.

The company in a statement copied to the B&FT said: “MTN Ghana acknowledges the NCA’s duty and powers to promote fair competition amongst licensed operators in Ghana’s telecommunications sector within the relevant laws of Ghana and acceptable global industry best practices. Regretfully, the manner of the recent declaration of MTN as a Dominant/SMP raises concerns about clear procedural breaches and substantive issues.”

The statement added that several engagements with the regulator to solve the issue proved futile and so it was left with no choice but to pursue a judicial option on the matter. “Following the NCA’s declaration, MTN Ghana refrained from publicly commenting on the matter and engaged in dialogue with the regulatory authority and other stakeholders to share our views on the matter.

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.”

The statement added that “MTN has, over the years, shown confidence in the Ghana telecommunications sector, by the continued investment in hitherto undervalued ventures (e.g., rural telephony, broadband services, 4G technology, new innovations, mobile money etc.) to support the development of the industry and to deliver on our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.

We have indeed collaborated with government over the period to invest in priority projects that have all contributed to our current position in the market. The high proliferation of choice in the Ghanaian telecoms market aided by Mobile Number Portability, network interoperability, very affordable SIMs and accompanying multiple SIM handsets are all indicators of a free and competitive market.”

It stated emphatically that MTN is not opposed to the decision but believes the mode of operation is unlawful. “MTN Ghana would like to reiterate that it is not opposed to steps by the regulator to enhance further the highly competitive Ghana telecoms industry and is indeed prepared to support the Regulator to that end.

However, we believe that the regulatory authority must follow the applicable legislations and global industry best practices. As a responsible and ethical leader, MTN is neither aware of any industry economics market study to establish market failure nor has MTN taken any steps or engaged in anti-competitive behavior. We remain open to dialogue to achieve an amicable resolution to this matter.”

The statement ended by reassuring government and MTN’s cherished shareholders and customers that the company’s commitment to the delivery of a bold new digital world in Ghana continues to be paramount and that the company remains focused on providing the enabling technology to support Ghana’s digital economy particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

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