The mobile operators Atlantique Telecom (Moov) and Airtel were pinned for fraud in early July 2019 by the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Post (Arcep) of Niger.
According to the findings of a survey conducted by the telecom regulator last February, unnoticed in the local media, the two companies have set up, in complicity with the incumbent Niger Telecom incumbent, solutions for circumvention that have allowed to pay much less expensive rental of fiber optic transmission capacity on the line Niamey – Malanville.
Niger Telecom has given ISOCEL, an ISP (Internet Service Provider) operating without legal authorization in Niger, access to its fiber optic infrastructure for this parallel activity which has allowed Moov and Airtel to pay a tariff. annual CFAF 39,713,760, rental of transmission capacity by fiber optic. An amount contrary to the one validated by Arcep.
However, it is only to the operator Orange that Niger Telecom has applied the true annual amount of the interconnection, ie 700 903 200 FCFA. The telecom operators Airtel and Moov, respectively first and third in the national market in terms of share, thus pay almost seventeen times less than Orange for the same service.
This situation, which Arcep found to be a serious violation of the non-discrimination clauses, has reduced the pressure on Moov and Airtel while it has accentuated more on Orange Niger, which is currently in financial difficulty.
The company, which also did not reach an agreement with its partners, at the end of the hearing of July 23, 2019 which resulted in the closure of the procedure of preventive settlement opened at the Commercial Court Niamey, indicated that it remains ready “to examine any alternative solution that would preserve the maintenance of the activity and the interests of its personnel”.
Beyond the impact on Orange Niger, the fraud orchestrated by Niger Telecom, Airtel and Moov has also had financial consequences for the treasury funds.