Lagos - The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has fined four telecom service providers a cumulative sum of N22 million for contravening the ban on promotions and lotteries.
This is contained in a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday by Ms. Josephine Amuwa, the Director of Legal and Regulatory Services of NCC and made available to newsmen.
According to the statement, the operators are Airtel Networks Ltd., Etisalat, Globacom Ltd., and MTN Communications Nigeria Ltd.
Amuwa said that MTN would pay N10 million on account of five promotions at N2 million for each while Etisalat would pay N6 million for three promotions on its network.
She added that Airtel would pay N4 million for running two promotions and Globacom N2 million for running one promotion.
"All the operators have seven days to pay their respective sanction amounts from date of receipt of the sanction notice on February 22, 2013.
"And they are liable to payment of the sum of N1 million for any day that the contravention persists," Amuwa said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sanctions on MTN were as a result of five promotions.
They are Free Airtime for MTN to MTN calls (8a.m. – 5p.m.), MTN to MTN SMS and free MB for Data Dial *559#.
MTN also carried out "free N100 airtime for MTN to MTN calls, Airtime Bonus valid for life, Dial *559#", and MTN Super Saver, "get 500 per cent, bonus valid till midnight, Dial *507#".
It also engaged in "recharge with N100 today and get N500 free credit instantly and Hurry and Recharge before January 22’’.
In the case of Etisalat, the promotions that attracted the sanctions are "Buy a MIFI device and get 1GB free for six months, buy a router device and get 50MB free data spread over four months".
Etisalat also ran "Get 30 per cent instant bonus on every plan subscription/renewal over 200MB" promotion.
On the other hand, Airtel was sanctioned for two promotions namely "Dongle and MIFI offerings and Reverse Auction Service".
Globacom was sanctioned for running one promotion ``buy Samsung Galaxy SIII, or Galaxy Note II and get free 500 MB on activation and free 100MB X 6 months’’.
Amuwa said that if the operators refused to pay the sanctions or continue to contrive the ban, the commission would impose stiffer penalties on them.
According to her, the penalties include but not limited to payment of N1 million for each day that the contravention persists.
She said that the failure of the service providers to discontinue the promotions was a direct contravention of guidelines on adverts and promotions.
The director said that the failure of the service providers to discontinue the promotions was also a contravention of the Nigerian Communications (Enforcement Processes, etc) Regulations 2005.
NAN recalls that the commission had in a letter dated Nov. 8, 2012, directed all the licencees to discontinue all promotions and lotteries running on their networks without further notice.
The ban covered proposed and approved promotions and lotteries following several complaints the commission received from consumers and stakeholders against various promotions on the various networks.