• NCC to issue new telecoms licences in 2016


Trading in telecoms firm, MTN Group, was briefly suspended on Monday by South Africa’s bourse after the stock fell as much as 8 percent as Africa’s largest mobile telecoms operator battles to reduce a $5.2 billion fine it faces in Nigeria.
However, Nigerian Pilot gathered that shares in South Africa’s MTN resumed trading on the Johannesburg Security Exchange, according to a statement issued on Monday.
“Yes, trading in MTN shares has been suspended and the information was broadcast across the trading platform,” said Peter Redman of the exchange’s surveillance department.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, said yesterday that it would issue new telecoms spectrum licences in 2016, to create robust internet infrastructure in all the 36 states in the country.
It also stated that telecoms operators in the country engaged in 40,719 mobile number-porting activities in the month of September.
This is contained in the `Incoming and Outgoing Porting Activities of Mobile Network Operators’ report obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Lagos.
Acting Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta disclosed plans to issue new telecom spectrum licences in 2016 in an interview with the NAN in Abuja.
Nigerian Pilot learnt the bourse suspended trade on the firm’s shares during mid-morning trade as the stock fell as much as 8 percent, while Africa’s largest mobile telecoms operator negotiated with authorities in Nigeria where MTN was fined a $5.2 billion for failure to cut off unregistered users.
The mobile operator, which has more than 200 million subscribers across Africa and the Middle East stock has fallen more than 25 percent in the past seven sessions, wiping in excess of 60 billion rand ($4.4 billion) off its market value, after the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, imposed the fine last week for failure to cut off unregistered users.
Reuters report said after trading resumed hours later, MTN shares were down 5.9 percent at 148.51 rand at 1200 GMT. They earlier touched a three-year low of 142.50 rand.
One trader said the stock tumbled due to speculation the company had agreed to pay the fine, which is equivalent to almost a quarter of Nigeria’s 2015 budget of $22 billion and would wipe out more than two years of MTN’s annual profits.
“There has been some speculation that the company has agreed to pay the fine, but we really want to hear it from the company itself,” said Afrifocus Securities portfolio manager, Ferdi Heyneke.
MTN said the firm was still in talks with Nigerian authorities about the fine.
“The company reiterates that engagements with the Nigerian authorities are continuing,” MTN said in statement, MTN has been in talks with the Nigerian presidency, internal security agency and the NCC to resolve the matter, according to a regulatory source.
MTN Chief Executive, Sifiso Dabengwa flew to Abuja to make what three sources familiar with the matter said was an attempt to have the penalty reduced.
NCC on Friday gave MTN two weeks to pay the fine.
On the new telecoms spectrum licences issuance, Prof. Danbatta said that the commission was focused on providing a level playing field for all telecom companies and investors to maximise their investments in the sector.
He said this would increase investments, expand broadband services and drive economic growth and development in the country.
The NCC boss said the overall target was to raise the sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP to 25 per cent from the present 10 per cent.
“We shall continue to provide the enabling environment to attain the prediction of 25 per cent by 2025.
“The commission is currently engaging the Nigeria Governors’ Forum with a view to removing the barriers to infrastructure deployment such as fibre-optic cables, base transceiver stations and others from their states,” he said.
In the same vein, the report on porting activities showed that there was an increase of 1,646 in the Mobile Number Portability, MNP, activities in the month of September, in contrast to 39,073 activities recorded in August.
The report noted that out of the 40,719 porting activities recorded in the month under review, 20,349 were incoming porting activities, while 20,370 were outgoing.
It indicates in the outgoing table, that telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria, lost 12,259 subscribers to other networks through the MNP activities in September.
According to the report, MTN is the worst-hit during the exercise, followed by Airtel Nigeria which lost 3,635 customers in the month under review.
It explained that Globacom lost 3,212 subscribers, while 1,264 customers of Etisalat Nigeria ported to other networks in the period under review.
In the incoming table, the report showed that Etisalat enjoyed the exercise the most as it led with an additional 12,898 customers on its network in September.
It stated that Airtel came second on the gainers’ list, as it added 5,347 subscribers to its customers’ strength.
The report stated that on the gainers’ list, 1,505 subscribers moved into Globacom network, while MTN Nigeria gained 599 customers in the month under consideration.
Information at the disposal of the Nigerian Pilot shows that the exercise was flagged off on April 22, 2013 by the NCC, with the aim of deepening competition in the industry.

READ ALSO  Anxiety over emergence of new Ombatse group in Nasarawa