MTN Joins the Rogue’s Gallery

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    BUSTED: MTN Caught Cheating in Spectrum Deal Scandal

    [Image: MTN]

    The war between MTN and Vodacom just got dirtier. MTN South Africa is now fighting Vodacom’s lawsuit, which alleges that MTN’s "secret" spectrum pooling arrangements with Cell C and Liquid Intelligent Technologies are unlawful.

    In a move that has left Vodacom reeling, MTN claims that the South African regulatory framework permits spectrum pooling and that they have been open about their decision to pursue the arrangement. But Vodacom says otherwise, accusing MTN of using spectrum belonging to Cell C and Liquid to gain a unfair advantage in network quality.

    Vodacom Uncovered the Cheating

    Vodacom became suspicious of MTN’s advantage in network speed-test results and launched an investigation, which led it to conclude that MTN was using spectrum beyond what it’s been lawfully licensed. The evidence, allegedly gathered from independent tests, points to a sinister plot to rig the game.

    MTN: Vodacom is Just Jealous

    MTN, on the other hand, is spinning this as a jealous attack. "We designed and deployed our network, and we are opposing Vodacom’s application. In our answering affidavit, we argue that Vodacom has failed to provide evidence to support an interdict of these pooling arrangements," said Marina Madale, MTN’s acting chief sustainability and corporate affairs officer.

    But Vodacom is not backing down, claiming that if MTN’s interdict succeeds, its network quality will be degraded, impacting a substantial portion of the population.

    Cell C Joins the Fray

    Cell C, another mobile network operator involved in the spectrum pooling deal, has also come out in defense of MTN. "We are extremely confident that the regulator followed the right processes and the approval provided was in terms of the law and regulations as will be outlined in our court papers," said Cell C in a statement.

    As the drama unfolds, one thing is clear: the competition between MTN and Vodacom just got a whole lot uglier.

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