MTN South Africa will appear before communications regulator’s complaints and compliance committee next month over a charge that it failed to comply with a notification rule regarding tariff adjustments.
Icasa said on Friday that the committee will hold a public hearing on 4 March “in respect of MTN’s contravention of regulation 9 of the standard terms and conditions, wherein the licensee failed to comply with the part of the regulation that requires notifying the authority at least seven days prior to the provision of a charged service.”
The regulator is unhappy that MTN amended its 1GB WhatsApp monthly bundle to R30. “MTN implemented the price adjustment before the end of seven days’ period without prior approval by Icasa.”
It said it has engaged with MTN on the matter, with an exchange of documents and a subsequent hearing on 30 January.
The matter was initiated by the compliance and consumer affairs division of Icasa.
In its reply to the compliance committee, MTN stated that the early implementation of the amendment was done out of necessity as the company was faced with a choice between breaking the letter of regulation and suffering some more serious harm, Icasa said.
It said MTN could face a fine of between R100 000 and R5-million if it’s found it contravened the regulation. Alternatively, it could be fined 10% of its annual turnover for every day (or part thereof) during which the offence took place.
“Icasa feels strongly that the actions and contraventions by MTN effectively undermine the authority’s efforts of reducing the cost of communications in South Africa and the implementation of consumer protection regulations aimed at promoting transparency and prohibiting unfair business rules in the provision of communication services,” it said. — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media