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MTN Faces $213m Probe in Benin

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Benin’s telecoms regulator ARCEP has initiated a process to review the reasons why MTN has not paid outstanding invoices on frequency fees for 2016 and 2017 in that country.

On 30 March, the government of Benin issued MTN Benin frequency fees invoices for an amount equivalent to approximately $213 million (R3 billion) for the period March 2016 to December 2017, MTN explained in a SENS statement.

“Whilst the license agreement prescribes the calculation methodology for frequency fees it also provides that fees should take into account regional benchmarks, international practices and the local economy.

“MTN Benin has contested this amount on the basis that, inter alia, the amount is excessive which has been confirmed by an independent benchmark report commissioned in terms of MTN Benin’s license.

“We will continue to engage with the regulatory authorities in Benin to find an amicable solution to this matter,” says MTN.

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Federal High Court Sacks Etisalat Board

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Justice Ibrahim Buba sitting at the Federal High Court, Lagos has nullified the appointment of an interim board for Emerging Markets Telecommunications Service (EMTS), the fourth largest telecommunications service operator in Nigeria and owners of Etisalat.

 

The Court made the order following an application by Spectrum Wireless Communication Ltd, which invested $35million in 2009 in EMTS/Etisalat.

 

The order nullifies the appointment of Dr Joseph Nnana of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as chairman, Mr Boye Olusanya as Managing Director, Mrs Funke Ighodaro as Chief Financial Officer, Mr Seyi Bickersthet and Mr Ken Igbokwe as on the board of EMTS.

 

The nullification follows dismissal by Justice Buba of the preliminary objection filed by United Capital Trustees Ltd in response to the application by Spectrum Wireless, a shareholder of EMTS.

 

He ruled: “An order is hereby granted discharging the ex-parte order made by this court in this suit in favour of the respondent on the 3rd day of July 2017.

 

“The order made pursuant to motion ex-parte dated 3rd day of July 2017 was a nullity, made without jurisdiction and obtained by misrepresentation of facts. Same be and is hereby discharged and vacated as prayed.

 

“The motion for stay is struck out having set aside the order. The respondent shall reverse all steps taken by it since the order was a nullity.”

 

Spectrum Wireless claimed that the order was obtained by misrepresentation of facts that alienated its interests in the company.

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Truecaller Launches Contacts Backup, Others

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Truecaller has launched Truecaller Backup for Android, a new feature which allows users to backup and restore their contacts, call history, block list and settings to Google Drive.

Every day hundreds of thousands of Truecaller users are switching to a new phone, getting new SIM card, resetting their device or in general having to start their Truecaller journey anew. This inevitably leads to lost contacts, blank call logs and data gone missing.

Truecaller Backup has been one of the most highly requested features by its users, and will simplify a user’s transition to a new phone or SIM card by securely backing-up their contacts and settings, and stored on your Google Drive.

Users also have the power to customize the frequency of backup between daily, weekly, monthly and on demand. The upgrade enables the recovery of any lost data from Google Drive which Truecaller can restore to its last saved state.

Truecaller Contacts now lets a user even search for contacts whose details they haven’t saved but have previously communicated with. The Truecaller Contacts view contains all the contacts a user has sent or liaised with on call or text. This makes it easier for Truecaller users to recall and communicate with temporary contacts without saving them in their phonebook, keeping it clean and efficient.

Initially, the backup file will only be available for Google Drive users, but the plan is to expand the options to other backup storage in a near future. If you don’t already have a Google Drive account you’ll be prompted to create one.

 

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Telcos Pledge to Implement NCC Policy on Data Roll-over

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The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) says its members are likely to implement the 14 days grace for data roll-over planned by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Mr Gbenga Adebayo, the Chairman of ALTON, disclosed this on Monday in Lagos.

NCC is working to issue a directive to telecommunications operators to give 14 days’ window to subscribers to enable them to roll over their unused data.

Adebayo said that the period for data roll over was a commercial issue, which each telecommunications operator would determine how it suited its business plan.

“The decision is left to the individual players. As an industry player; I think it is good for the subscribers.

“If the data roll over grace makes the subscribers happy, I am certain that our members will align with the directive provided it does not impact on the existing cost,” he said.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC, said that subscribers would be given the 14 days grace even if they do not renew on the date of expiration of their data.

Danbatta said that this would stop the present practice where subscribers would lose the entire unused data, if they failed to renew on the date of the expiration of the present subscription.

According to him, NCC recognizes that telecommunications services are very important to the nation’s development.

“NCC also recognizes more importantly that the consumers of telecommunications services deserve to get value for their money.

“NCC also recognizes that consumer should be treated as a very important stakeholder in the scheme of things as far as service delivery is concerned.

“Let me recall that in the Eight-Point Agenda of my administration, the issue of empowerment and protection of the consumer occupied the sixth position.

“The vision in this agenda is to protect consumers from unfair practices through availability of information and education to make informed choices in the use of ICT services,” he said.

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