CRAN, MTC on collision course over MTN

A British telecommunications consultant has been roped in to determine whether MTC’s refusal to share its infrastructure with new kid on the block MTN Namibia is reasonable.

23 July 2021 | Technology

OGONE TLHAGE







WINDHOEK

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has warned telecommunications giant MTC that it will be to its own detriment if it does not cooperate during a probe to determine whether its refusal to share its infrastructure with MTN Namibia is reasonable.

The communications regulator earlier this year roped in a British telecommunications consultant Plum Consulting London after MTN laid a complaint against MTC, claiming it is not being accorded access to MTC’s infrastructure.

Amongst other tasks, the consultant must determine whether MTC leasing its infrastructure to MTN would place an unreasonable burden on MTC and whether it would impact its service delivery. Plum Consulting must also determine whether MTN indeed requires MTC’s infrastructure.

MTC argued that sharing its infrastructure will reduce the quality of service to its customers and that it will not be able to optimise its service without impacting the other’s service delivery.

MTN, on the other hand, is adamant that the law provides for infrastructure sharing, hence its insistence for MTC to comply.

Comply

In a letter dated 14 May, CRAN CEO Emilia Nghikembua told MTC that it must comply and provide the data required by the appointed special investigator, while MTC expressed reservations, saying it was not clear for what purposes MTN had requested to use its infrastructure as well as the type of infrastructure it had sought to use.

Nghikembua warned MTC that if it fails to provide adequate responses, “the consultant will be forced to work with best available data to meet the project schedule, which may be to your detriment”.

When MTN requested an infrastructure-sharing agreement to use MTC’s infrastructure earlier this year, MTC responded that it had not published any available capacity on its website as none was available and that MTN’s request was too vague for a thorough consideration.

Plum Consulting asked MTC whether MTN had indicated whether network sharing and national roaming was requested on a national or regional basis, and to provide a clear rationale on why MTN’s request for active infrastructure had been dismissed.

“It is our opinion that in the absence of an understanding of the request or dispute declared by MTN, the information sought is a fishing expedition which we believe is not fair at this juncture,” MTC’s head of legal services, Patience Kanalelo, said.

Investigation underway

She added that “the consultant is not in a position to evaluate our capacity not knowing where sharing is requested”.

“It is evident from the key questions posed to MTC that Plum Consulting is equally in the dark as we are,” Kanalelo said.

Nghikembua on Wednesday told Namibian Sun that they are seized with the matter.

“The investigation is currently underway. At this stage, we cannot say when it will be finalised, but our priority is to finalise the scope of the investigation as soon as possible,” she said.

The consultant was given until September 2021 to complete its probe.

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