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MTN Ghana sues telecom agency for targeting it in new regulation

MTN Ghana has taken what it described as a last resort and difficult decision to drag Ghana’s telecoms regulator, the National Communication Authority (NCA) to court seeking judicial review of declaring it as a Dominant/Significant Market Power (SMP) in Ghana’s telecom space.

MTN Ghana had viewed the designation as essentially inferring that a target or special regulatory restrictions would be at any given time, enforced possibly on it to potentially limit the company’s growth, performance, innovativeness, and its competitiveness in the telecoms market.

In a statement issued by the company’s Corporate Services Executive, Mr Samuel Koranteng, in Accra and made available to Business Hilights Ghana Bureau Chief, the telecom giant averred that the company acknowledged 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.

It further made clear that 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.

According to Koranteng, “Regretfully, the manner of the recent declaration of MTN as a Dominant/SMP raises concerns about clear procedural breaches and substantive issues.

“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 the implementation of the specified interventions,” it said.

MTN Ghana recalled that it 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, 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.

The company further recalled that it had indeed collaborated with the Government over the period to invest in priority projects that have all contributed to its current position in the market.

“MTN Ghana would like to reiterate that it was not opposed to steps by the Regulator to enhance further the highly competitive Ghana telecoms industry and was 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.”

While noting that MTN Ghana remains very much open to dialogue to achieve an amicable resolution to this matter, Koranteng reassured Government, shareholders and customers of its 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.