MTN Ghana heads to court over NCA’s attempt to restrict its operations

Ghana’s number one telecommunication network, MTN has dragged the National Communications Authority (NCA) to court over their attempts to break the company’s near-monopoly.

MTN

MTN Ghana said it has informed its stakeholders that the company was formally notified on June 9, 2020, of the NCA’s decision to declare MTN as a Dominant/Significant Market Power (SMP).

“This essentially means that special regulatory restrictions would be enforced to potentially limit the company’s growth, performance, innovativeness and its competitiveness in the telecoms market”, MTN said in a statement.

MTN Ghana said it “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”.

However, it indicated that the manner in which the telco was said to be a Dominant/SMP “raises concerns about clear procedural breaches and substantive issues.”

MTN did not publicly comment on the matter explaining that they had not been formally informed by the NCA.

MTN engaged the NCA and other stakeholders in a dialogue to “share our views on the matter” when they were formally informed.

“While these engagements have been largely encouraging, the NCA continues with the 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.”

It 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 the 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 continued: “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 behaviour. We remain open to dialogue to achieve an amicable resolution to this matter.”

“MTN Ghana would like to reassure the government and its cherished shareholders and customers that our 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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