MTN Ghana has begun processes to contest the National Communications Authority’s (NCA) move to declare the company as a Significant Market Power (SMP).
Earlier this month, the government, in its quest to ensure “proper and healthy competition” in the telecommunication sector, directed the National Communication Authority (NCA) to enforce the provisions of the Electronic Communications (EC) Act 2008 and the National Telecommunications Policy to address glaring disparities in market share and revenue share in the sector.”
According to the government the growing dominance of MTN “has impacted negatively on competition and consumer choice, necessitating corrective action.”
Initially, the telecommunication company said it had not received any formal notification from the NCA on the matter but respects the position taken by the Authority to regulate the sector.
But MTN Ghana now says, although there are ongoing discussions with the regulator to decide on the way forward, NCA has already moved with the implementation, hence its decision to finally seek redress at the law court.
“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.”
Some industry watchers have described the government’s decision as unfair to the current industry leader, MTN.
They say the move appears to be one that will punish innovative and successful businesses.
“Regretfully, the manner of the recent declaration of MTN as a Dominant/SMP raises concerns about clear procedural breaches and substantive issues”, MTN noted.
Reducing dominance not punishment
Telecoms Analyst, Patrick Boateng, had earlier stated that the decision by the 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 his own interest which may not necessarily be in the interest of consumers or anybody else.”