18 May 2017
Rwanda’s telecom industry regulator has fined MTN Rwanda, a division of South Africa’s MTN Group, 7 billion francs (8.5 million dollars) for running its IT services outside the country in breach of its licence.
The telecommunications regulator, in a statement, said MTN breached its license by running its IT services in Uganda.
“MTN Rwanda provided services in contravention of enforcement notice and directives issued by the regulator against hosting its IT services outside the country,” the statement read.
“By doing so, MTN Rwanda breached its license obligation requiring it to comply with all applicable laws, regulations and any other regulatory instruments issued by the competent authority.
“On May 4, 2017, the regulatory board of RURA conducted a hearing session in which MTN Rwanda was informed on the breach of its license obligations and given the opportunity to be heard, whereby MTN Rwanda admitted the above-mentioned breach.
“In accordance with the applicable laws, the regulatory board of RURA decided to impose on MTN Rwanda administrative fine of seven billion thirty million Rwanda Francs (7,030,000,000).”
In its reaction, MTN Group in a statement said it had received a notification of the fine.
“MTN has been engaging with the regulator on this matter over the past four months. MTN Rwanda is currently studying the official notification and will continue to engage with the regulator on this matter,” it said.
In October 2015, the Nigeria Communications Commission announced a fine of N1.4 trillion for failure to disconnect unregistered sim cards.
The fine was later slashed to N330 billion after negotiations, a part of which the company said it had paid.
In an interview with AFP in April, Tony Ojobo, spokesperson of the Nigeria Communication Commission, NCC, said, “MTN has paid N30bn ($98m, 92 million euros) as part of the fine.”
“The payment is in furtherance of the agreed timetable for payment of the total fine,” Mr. Ojobo added.
He said MTN had already paid N80 billon of the total fine of N330 billion.
The NCC spokesperson said MTN was expected to pay the next tranche of the fine “based on the payment schedule agreed by the two parties.”