MTN Nigeria

Giant telecoms operator MTN will have to pay a $3.9bn fine imposed by Nigeria for failing to disconnect users with unregistered SIM cards by December 31, a source in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said. NCC had cut the fine from an initial $5.2bn after weeks of lobbying by Africa’s biggest mobile phone company to get it reduced. But MTN last week threatened to take the NCC to court over the fine.
“Appropriate action will be taken”, should MTN fail to meet the deadline, the source said, asking not to be named and giving no further details.
MTN said this month it would challenge the decision in court.
Nigeria has been pushing telecoms companies to verify the identity of subscribers amid concern that unregistered SIM cards were being used for criminal activity in a country facing the insurgency of militant Islamist group Boko Haram.
MTN said on December 17 that it had “”thoroughly and carefully” considered all factors, including a review of the circumstances of the fine and subsequent letters from the watchdog.
It said the manner of the imposition of the fine and the quantum was not in accordance with the regulator’s powers under the Nigerian Communications Act and therefore “there are valid grounds upon which to challenge the fine”.
However, the group said it would continue to engage with the Nigerian authorities to “try ensure an amicable resolution”.
Fallout from the fine forced MTN to overhaul its top team and operational structure.
The crisis forced Sifiso Dabengwa to resign as CEO and earlier this month MTN Nigeria CEO Michael Ikpoki and Akinwale Goodluck, the head of regulatory and corporate affairs, quit with immediate effect.

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