MTN gets ultimatum to pay $5.2b fine


The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given MTN Group two weeks to pay a $5.2 billion fine imposed on the mobile phone company for failure to cut off users with unregistered SIM cards.

NCC spokesman, Tony Ojobo, told Reuters that MTN had until November 16 to make the payment, but the two sides were in talks to resolve the matter.

“The outcome of the discussion may affect the date. That’s why they are having the discussion so that they can reach a solution,” Ojobo said.

The Presidency and internal security agency were also involved in the talks, a regulatory source told Reuters.

The NCC imposed the penalty on Monday, hitting Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator’s stock price.

Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market by subscribers.

Some analysts have said the size of the fine risked damaging Nigeria’s efforts to shake off an image as a risky frontier market for international investors.

MTN had said on Monday the NCC imposed the fine for failing to disconnect subscribers with unregistered or incomplete SIM cards, under a directive given to all network operators which the regulator said only MTN had failed to comply with.





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