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MTN goes to Supreme Court over monopoly saga

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Telecommunications giant, MTN Ghana, has filed a writ at the Supreme Court for a review of the decision by the High Court to dismiss its suit against the National Communications Authority over monopoly claims.

A statement by the largest telecoms operator in the country stated that MTN “would like to inform its customers, shareholders and other stakeholders that it filed papers on Friday 4th September at the Supreme Court seeking to review the High Court’s recent decision regarding the declaration of MTN Ghana as a Significant Market Power (SMP). This step was taken after a careful review of the Court’s [email protected]

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On Tuesday, September 1, An Accra High Court of Justice (Commercial Division) dismissed MTN’s application for a judicial review of the declaration by the National Communications Authority (NCA) of MTN Ghana as an Significant Market Power (SMP).

The statement added that “MTN Ghana respects the decision of the Court, however in our opinion the judgement did not address our concerns that the NCA’s decision did not meet the requirements of procedural fairness.

“MTN Ghana acknowledges the duties and powers of the NCA to promote fair competition amongst licensed operators. We also support the legitimate exercise of the NCA’s regulatory powers, but as a good corporate citizen and considering the international investment community we believe that a decision by the highest court of the land would provide certainty and a veritable precedence on the procedural fairness in this, and future regulatory decisions of the Authority.

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“This will no doubt safeguard the interest of customers, shareholders, investors and the wider industry. We believe Friday’s step still provides an opportunity for further engagements with the regulatory authorities. Indeed, MTN Ghana continues to reach out to the regulator and key stakeholders to have the concerns of both sides addressed in a collaborative and amicable manner.”

MTN Ghana further assured “its cherished customers, shareholders and other stakeholders of its unflinching commitment to its regulatory obligations and support for the Ghanaian Government’s efforts to enhance growth and competition in all segments of the telecommunications market.

“The company will continue to invest and innovate to realise its belief that every Ghanaian deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. MTN Ghana will refrain from further statements or comments on this matter until it becomes necessary to update all stakeholders of future material developments.”

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Background

Telecommunication giant, MTN in June this year dragged the National Communication Authority to court over attempts by the regulator to break up the near-monopoly of the company.

In a statement, MTN said despite consultations with NCA, the company was left with no choice than to resort to the court to seek redress.

MTN described the government’s move as “unfair” and said the decision to go to court, was a “difficult” move.

The Ministry of Communications on June 9, 2020 announced that the telecommunication industry was facing “glaring disparities” and “imbalances” which it said was unhealthy for competition.

According to a statement signed by the Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the new policies were meant to correct the imbalance in the telecommunication market.

The statement indicated that the NCA would, among others, apply the measures, including asymmetrical interconnect rate in favour of the disadvantaged operators, in the exercise of its regulatory mandate.

The NCA said it would also set floor pricing on all minutes, data, SMS and Mobile Money, and review and approve all pricing by the SMP as required by law.

It added that it would insist that SMP did not have differential prices for on-net and off-net transactions while ensuring that various operator vendors were not subjected to exclusionary pricing or behaviour.

These would be done besides the NCA ensuring that SMP’s access to information did not disadvantage any value-added service of non-SMP operators.

“It will 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 minister said.

“These measures kick in immediately and the NCA is expected to work with all Network Operators who must cooperate to ensure it is done painlessly.”

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful pointed out that the measures taken in the past to open up the market and ensure fairer competition, though unpleasant to the dominant player then, had eventually ensued to the benefit of the consumer, which had also seen a vibrant telecom sector today.

“This will also have the same result over time. It is corrective and not punitive,” the statement concluded.

 

Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM





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