Benin’s Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications & Post (ARCEP) has opened a sanction procedure against mobile operator MTN Benin for non-payment of spectrum usage fees totalling XOF134.4 billion ($238 million), Agence Ecofin reports. The cellco, part of the South African MTN Group, has spectrum fee arrears amounting to XOF57.6 billion for 2016 and similar unpaid costs valued at XOF76.8 billion for 2017, the regulator said.
On 7 November ARCEP granted MTN Benin (registered as Spacetel Benin) seven days to justify its apparent failure to comply with its obligations. The regulatory council will then meet to review MTN’s reasons for non-compliance, and could issue penalties for subsequent non-payment, under sanction procedure rules which can ultimately lead to suspension of the operator’s licence.
A report from Dow Jones Newswires notes that MTN Group has called the invoice from the Benin government ‘excessive’ and says that it will engage with the regulator to reach an amicable solution.