KIGALI,MAY 17 – Rwanda’s telecom sector regulator has imposed an $8.5 million fine on MTN’s Rwandan unit for hosting its IT services in Uganda in breach of its licence obligations.
A statement issued this morning by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency RURA, said MTN Rwanda contravened conditions for its licence when it decided to host its IT services outside the country.
“The fine relates to non-compliance with the directives issued by the regulator prohibiting the inclusion of MTN Rwanda in the MTN South and East Africa (SEA) IT hub based in Uganda,” MTN Group confirmed in a statement.
Like a number of other MTN subsidiaries, MTN Rwanda hosts its IT services at the group’s regional IT hub in Uganda.
Explaining the decision RURA said: “On 4th May 2017, the Regulatory Board of RURA conducted a hearing session in which MTN Rwanda Ltd was informed on the breach of its license obligations and given the opportunity to be heard, whereby MTN Rwanda Ltd admitted the above mentioned breach. In accordance with the applicable laws, the Regulatory Board of RURA decided to impose on MTN Rwanda Ltd administrative fine of Rwf7.03 billion.”
Coming on the back of a $1.7 billion fine slapped on its Nigerian subsidiary over failure to deactivate some five million unregistered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards, the Rwandan action is likely to put telecom giant, known for its bullish approach in the spotlight.
Uganda had imposed a $4 million fine on the telco for similar breaches in late 2015 but the action was stayed.
With just over 4 million subscribers, MTN Rwanda is the largest telecom operator in Rwanda followed by Tigon and Airtel.