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NCA justifies why MTN data zone bundle was suspended

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has provided justification for the suspension of the data zone service offered by telecom giant MTN Ghana.

The NCA claims that MTN’s data zone bundle violated the SMP rules since it offered the cheapest data rates compared to its rivals.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday in Accra, NCA Director General Joe Anokye said that after some investigation, the NCA had to suspend MTN since several market participants had expressed concerns about the company breaking the rule.

The MTN Zone Bundle was a 24-hour data package that provided savings of up to 35% on certain data allotments.

“NCA had given MTN the go-ahead to halt the product’s sale until all Significant Market Power (SMP) controls were in place. For calls, SMS, and data, MTN shouldn’t charge less. MTN shouldn’t reduce its off-net call rates. As of now, MTN has complied with the instructions.

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However, the MTN data zone bundle, a 24-hour data bundle for the various data allotments, caught the NCA’s attention in January 2023.

Some market participants expressed worries about the plan, he continued. NCA consulted MTN and examined the offering. We came to the conclusion that the MTN data bundle was the cheapest available and in contravention of the directive. The instruction was to stop the service.

Nevertheless, Joe Anokye pointed out that MTN subsequently submitted a new data zone package, which NCA accepted for execution.

On April 5, MTN Ghana disconnected their data zone bundle.

According to a statement by MTN Ghana, the suspension resulted from a review of the bundle offer in accordance with the Significant Market Power (SMP) directives that the telecom operator was subject to starting in June 2020.

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The telecom operator further stated that it was not required under the SMP guidelines to have the lowest pricing on any industry offer.

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