BrandArena: Why Etisalat is Suing MTN and NCC

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Why Etisalat is Suing MTN and NCC

Mobile telecommunication company, Etisalat is asking a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to review a decision taken by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) that allowed 30 per cent differential between MTN’s off-net and on-net retail mobile voice tariffs.

In the filed suit, Etisalat said with the 30 per cent differential, MTN had been able to create a ‘calling club,’ an example of which is its ‘Family and Friends’ package.

Through the package, MTN is allowing its subscribers to call eight subscribers of the network and two others that are not MTN subscribers at the rate of 11 kobo per second. This campaign, according to Etisalat is a threat to the survival of its business. It added that the promo violates NCC’s laws.

The network is also telling the court that NCC is aiding MTN, leveraging on the enormous size of the network to restrict outgoing traffic to smaller operators by pricing on-net tariffs lower so as to make off-net calls unattractive.

At this week’s court proceedings, counsel for Etisalat, Aanu Ogunro, said the 30 per cent differential in on-net and off-net retail mobile voice tariffs granted MTN by NCC was a breach of NCC’s regulations, specifically the Determination of Dominance in Selected Communications Markets in Nigeria.

Appearing before Justice Mohammed Idris, Ogunro submitted an application seeking the leave of the court for the suit to be heard during the court’s ongoing annual vacation. The lawyer described the case an urgent one.

“If the decision of the NCC in favour of MTN was not reversed, it posed a threat to the business survival of Etisalat,” Ogunro said. “My lord, we have a motion ex-parte for leave to ask for the judicial review of the decision of the first respondent.

“The urgency in this matter is that the first respondent has made certain decisions that, if not urgently addressed, will affect the business of the applicant and it is capable of eroding the capital and the business of the applicant within a very short time.”

The judge subsequently granted the application to hear the suit during vacation and adjourned till August 3 to take the substantive application.

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