Swaziland denies MTN 3G license

MTN has had its application for a 3G license in Swaziland rejected by the local telecoms network player and regulator, the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC).

SPTC also manages the regulatory regime in the country and it did not say why MTN’s license was rejected.

MTN Swaziland CEO, Ambrose Dlamini had said last year that the company was at an advanced stage in negotiations for a 3G license and had hoped to be awarded the license by the end of last year.

MTN has been lobbying for an independent regulator for some years, saying that the combination of player and regulator causes obvious conflicts of interest.

The irony is that SPTC is also the majority shareholder of MTN Swaziland with 51% of the shares.

Of the remainder, 30% is owned by South Africa’s MTN and 19% by the local Swaziland Empowerment group.

Last year, MTN reportedly dropped its objection to SPTC building a fixed wireless network, in exchange for the government pressing ahead with splitting the phone company from its regulatory role.

By Samuel Dowuona

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