By Magreth Nunuhe
WINDHOEK – The communications regulator has given MTC the choice to either admit violating the Communications Act with their controversial N$2 for 10MB promotion or face the possibility of prosecution.
The regulator, Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN),
on Friday said it has issued MTC with “summons for contravening various sections of the Communications Act”. MTC now has the option to either plead guilty to the charges and pay a stipulated fine or deny the charges and plead not guilty. If MTC denies the charges, CRAN would be compelled to forward the document summons to the Prosecutor-General’s Office, where the matter would be investigated further for possible prosecution.
The “summons” is a document or dossier of transgression in which the regulator, CRAN, alleges MTC has violated or failed to comply with the Communications Act.
Central to CRAN’s documents of summons is that MTC failed to inform the regulator of the promotions, as required to by the Act. CRAN’s acting Chief Executive Officer, Hilma Hitula, says the “introduction of the Select, S, M, L & XL promotional packages, other promotional data bundles and the Aweh promotional packages, that were introduced on 12 December 2014 were not in line with the Communications Act, Act 8 of 2009, and contravened sections 53(2)(c), 53(7) and 79(3)”.
MTC’s Chief Human Capital and Corporate Affairs Officer, Tim Ekandjo, says that they have taken note of CRAN’s statement and would deal with that at an appropriate time and will therefore not make any comments at this point.
In a statement issued on Friday, CRAN requested MTC post-paid subscribers to review their billing statements for the months of January and February 2015 and ensure that they were not billed from the period of December 12, 2014, to January 21, 2015.
“If any MTC customers were billed during this period, please first contact MTC directly to resolve the issue. If the matter is not resolved within 14 days, the customer may submit the matter to CRAN for adjudication,” CRAN said.
Consequently, MTC had to suspend the controversial “N$2 for 10MB per day promotion” barely a month after it was introduced and also promised to refund customers who were on the campaign list by crediting their balances.
This came in the wake of aggrieved customers, who complained that MTC was being unfair with its “promotional” pricing of N$2 for 10 MB bundles per day and that the charges were not mandatory for customers, but they also included customers who otherwise did not need the service, such as those who use MTC for fleet-tracking management.
MTC was hauled before the communications regulator last month for violating several regulatory requirements in the promotion of data bundle costs with the N$2 for 10MB data per day.
The Namibia Consumer Trust (NCT) called on CRAN to slap MTC with a hefty penalty as well as imprisonment of MTC’s management and board, in line with Section 114 of the Communications Act.