MTC Again in Hot Water With Cran – Call to Send MTC Management to Prison

The country’s largest mobile telecommunication service provider, MTC, has again been hauled before the communication regulator for violating several regulatory requirements in the promotion of data bundle costs.

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) said MTC’s data promotion of charging N$2 for 10MB data per day “is not in line with the provisions of Section 79 of the Communication Act.” CRAN also says it was not informed of the MTC promotions, as required by law, a “transgression of the provisions of the Act [that] is receiving CRAN’s full attention in terms of section 122 of the Act.”

CRAN’s response, placed in newspapers yesterday quoting CRAN chairperson Lazarus Jacobs, caught the attention of the Namibia Consumer Trust (NCT), which called on CRAN to fine MTC with a hefty penalty as well as imprisonment of MTC’s management and board, in line with the Communication Act’s Section 114.

NCT’s executive director, Michael Gaweseb, said this is the perfect time for CRAN to show its teeth. The perception is that CRAN is very lenient with MTC.

NCT has previously complained to CRAN over MTC’s Awhe-Awhe resulting in MTC being forced to refund customers and change its aertising messages.

“Inaction by CRAN will further make a mockery of Namibianisation of the Namibian economy as [MTC] repeatedly violates the relevant laws,” NCT says.

CRAN said it conducted its investigation after noticing the mounting customer complaints regarding MTC’s decision to charge N$2 for 10 MB data per day.

CRAN conducted a verification of MTC’s billing system in December and noted that MTC made the promotion mandatory rather than optional, whereby MTC subscribers were automatically added as participants in the promotion.

“The mandatory imposition of this promotional tariff and placing an obligation on the consumer to cancel its participation in a promotion, which the consumer has not initially subscribed to, is not in line with the provisions of section 79 of the Communications Act and can therefore not be supported by CRAN,” CRAN said in the aertorial yesterday.

Gaweseb said the NCT is pleased that CRAN now promised full attention, especially on its own motion as per Section 122 without waiting for a consumer to complete a form. “NCT is also respectfully acknowledging and embracing CRAN’s assurance that it takes consumer protection very seriously,” Gaweseb said.

Besides a hefty penalty and imprisonment of MTC executives, NCT is also calling for MTC’s licence to be “amended as per Section 115(c) to strengthen regulation in order to restore public confidence in CRAN’s ability to execute its mandate. Alternatively CRAN could inform consumers about immunity enjoyed by MTC (if any) from provisions of the Act.”

Source : New Era