Dar es Salaam. Seven telecommunication companies were yesterday slapped with a Sh1.25 billion fine in total for setting incorrect terms and conditions on services they offer to their customers. The companies have been given 14 days to rectify their faults and report to the regulator before July 30.
The affected companies are Airtel Tanzania Plc, MIC Tanzania Plc (Tigo), Smile Communications Tanzania Ltd, Tanzania Telecommunications Cooperation, Viettel Tanzania Plc(Halotel) Vodacom Tanzania Plc, Zanzibar Telecoms Plc as well as Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited(TTCL).
TCRA said in a statement that the companies violated regulation No. 4&7(3) of the Postal and Electronic Communication Act of 2018 and regulation No.12 (4) of the same Act, adding that the companies have not been adhering to the directives of the regulator.
Efforts to reach the companies to comment on TCRA’s decision did not bear fruit by press time as most of them asked for more time to consider what to speak to the media.
TCRA director general James Kilaba explained in a statement that Airtel Tanzania Plc was fined Sh350million whereas Vodacom Sh400million. MIC Tanzania Plc was fined Sh300 million. Vietell was fined Sh130 million while Zantel Sh25 million and Smile Communications Tanzania Ltd Sh15 million. Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) was also fined Sh30million.
Mr Kilaba said the companies were initially summoned and told to defend their case before being penalized. He said they were given a hearing after which it was determined that they should be fined.
“If the affected companies will not fulfil the requirements of the fine, TCRA will take further measures without notifying them and at their cost,’’ he said. This is not the first time that TCRA has fined telcos for violating the Postal and Electronic Communication Act. Last year, it slapped the major telcos with a fine totalling Sh5.9 billion for failing to adhere to rules on quality of services.
TCRA said quality service testing for the months of July, August and September of that year showed that the companies failed to meet some of the criteria for quality services.
In 2017, the authority also imposed fines of up to Tsh10.74 billion ($4,760,520) on phone companies that had violated SIM card registration rules set by the regulator.
Some telcos were found to have registered new numbers to clients without asking for their identity cards or using IDs not accepted by TCRA. By that time, the registration requirements were still the national identity card, Zanzibar resident ID card, passport, voters registration card and driver’s license.
The regulator also said that the companies had issued phone numbers to clients without taking their photographs, issuing Sim cards without client signatures and using third party identity cards to register clients.