by Stanley Azuakola
Nigerians have been keenly watching stand-off in the telecommunications sector since the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) slammed a N1.17 billion fine on the four major telecoms operators in the country for not meeting the quality of service key performance indicators set for March and April. The source of worry was that if the operators used their leverage to defy the NCC, and refuse to pay, such an action might permanently undermine the credibility of the NCC.
Eugene Juwah, the Vice-Chairman of the NCC was confident that the operators would pay up. In one of many interviews he granted media houses, he said: “They will pay. A regulator does not issue an order and forget about it. We would always take an action if they don’t follow our directives. But I can tell you that they will pay, maybe by next week.”
The Vice-Chairman was right as indications emerged on Tuesday that Globacom, Airtel and MTN Nigeria have paid the fines imposed on them. The payment came after a month and about eight days of prolonged delays and debate by the operators, on why NCC should impose such fine on them, in view of various challenges hindering their performance.
The three operators paid their fines very late on Monday evening. Etisalat is the only network which had not paid as at Monday evening, but was expected to pay yesterday (Tuesday).