Non-Compliance In Telecommunications And Consequences

Written By Rashidat Olushola Okunlade

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), is charged with the responsibility of regulating the telecommunications sector. NCC is authorised to make and publish regulations and guidelines as it is necessary to give effect to the full provisions of the NCA among other reasons.

Operators that are non-compliance to terms, conditions, and obligations were of concern to NCC.

Operators or Service Providers that are not in compliance with the approved Individual Consumer Code of Practice (ICCP), Type Approval of Equipment, Submission of Statistical Data and Information on their change of address, and licence renewal may face consequences. The issue of delay in licence renewal by licensees whose licences have expired or are about to expire is another key issue.

Non-compliance with Licence terms, conditions, and obligations checks will reveal that some licensees were not in compliance with obligations such as payment of the Annual Operating Levy (AOL).

Compliance companies can avoid these consequences by having in place a well-coordinated compliance management system, which begins with identifying the acts and principles that apply to your organisation.

Regulations that govern every telecom operation are put in place to ensure that entities act in a reasonable and responsible manner. But with the abundance and complexity of regulations and the fact that they change rapidly, many telecom operators tend to treat compliance as a secondary function with little consideration of the consequences.

In addition to penalties such as hefty fines and operation sanctions, other consequences of non-compliance with applicable laws can include:

Criminal Charges: No director or board member wants to face criminal charges for not ensuring that organisation adheres to the law. However, criminal charges are a potential consequence of telecom regulatory non-compliance.

Reputational woes: A business’ public image is key to its success. When a company is thrust into the public eye for failing to comply with regulations, there are reputational repercussions, which eventually lead to distrust. Once that happens, loyal consumers may leave, new consumers may be put off and potentially beneficial partnerships may never develop.

Loss of lucrative opportunities: Telecom stakeholders are required to meet a host of regulations if they wish to continue with the government or any of its parastatals. Non-compliance across telecom and business network could result in exclusion from the tendering process and supplier database. In addition, companies that place value on corporate compliance may avoid transacting business with non-compliance organisation as they would want to ensure that they meet their own regulatory obligations.

NCC is fully aware and committed to discharging its mandate, especially in facilitating a conducive telecommunication environment and guiding the industry to sustain the achievement already recorded in the industry. It can only achieve this with the cooperation and support of the licensees, with respect to compliance with extant laws and subsidiary legislations.

What NCC Says On Non-Compliance of Regulations: The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has zero tolerance for non-compliance for all its licensees and to be sticklers to the rules of engagement as evinced in Nigerian Communications Act (2003), Regulations, Guidelines as well as Directions guiding the telecommunications industry.
Telecom stakeholders cannot operate without the regulator’s support particularly because telecoms is a long gestational and capital-intensive business, and therefore they need all the support, understanding, and partnership they can get in order to succeed.
Telecommunications must pay attention to the environmental impact of its operations, consumer-related issues, and Corporate Social Responsibility, stick to the sport and letters of its licensing conditions and seek authorization when necessary in order to have smooth operations.
Sanction is an issue the NCC is usually very reluctant to employ in its dealings with operators and therefore reiterated the need for all players in the telecom sector to keep to the terms and conditions of their licenses. NCC’s commitment to accomplishing the 8-Point Agenda, and consistent with its strategic collaboration and partnership principle, the Commission will offer every necessary support to all operators to enable them to succeed. The need for infrastructure cannot be overemphasized in the telecoms space and access is needed in all parts of the country to enhance digital transformation, and with successes, as expected. The quality of telecom services to improve. NCC advised telecom operators to collaborate with licensed Infrastructure Companies in order to expand the frontiers of accessibility, availability, and affordability of telecom services in Nigeria.


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