Nigeria sets SAfrica’s MTN fine deadline

mtnNigeria’s telecoms regulator said Thursday it has set a November 16 deadline for South African mobile giant MTN to pay a $5.2 billion fine for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered SIM cards.

“The deadline set for the payment of the fine is November 16,” Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) spokesman Tony Ojobo told AFP.

“The key issue is if MTN breached the law or not. Certainly, there was a breach. And if there is a breach, we will apply the law.”

Early in August the NCC issued a directive to mobile telecoms companies operating in Nigeria to deactivate all unregistered SIM cards within seven days or face severe sanctions.

MTN — Africa’s largest telecoms firm — missed the deadline to deactivate its 5.1 million unregistered subscribers, prompting a 200,000-naira ($1,000) fine for each unregistered SIM.

The penalty saw the company’s shares crash on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and raised questions about the renewal of its licence in Nigeria next year if the fine goes unpaid.

MTN had more than 62.8 million subscribers in Nigeria by the second quarter of this year.

Senior officials of the Nigerian government, the NCC and MTN began talks in Abuja on Thursday to thrash out a solution to the matter, Ojobo confirmed.

But he did not specify what precise sanctions MTN could face.

Under the law, the NCC’s powers include “granting or revoking of permits for connection of customer equipment” and “determination of services and new undertakings eligible for licensing from time to time”.

On what would happen if MTN failed to meet the deadline, Ojobo said: “When we get to the bridge, we will know how to cross it. The deadline set for the payment of the fine is November 16.”

“If the situation will change in any way, then the government at the top will have to so direct. But for now, the mood is to apply the law.”

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  • emmanuel kalu

    they should not allow this company to dilute this fine in any way. and it must be paid by the due date. To stop the riot of the country we need to strictly enforce the law and rules.

  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    MTN must pay the fine to serve as a deterrent. For too long, the telecom firm has been carrying on as if it is above the law. This same company manipulated the call logs of Justice Ayo Salami, chieftains of defunct ACN and the party’s legal reps when NJC was investigating allegations of corruption against the disgraced erstwhile President of the Court of Appeal. It also regularly ignored requests for call detail records from law enforcement and security agencies (including the National Security Adviser). This fine should not be mitigated. MTN is a rogue company.

  • Sanusi Minjibir Esq

    DStv is next.

    • Kabir Kabir

      Add Shoprite and Game to it!

  • shyne

    Revenge is a b****h…. payback for Zenophobic attacks on NIgerians.

    • Kabir Kabir

      you can say that again!

  • Kabir Kabir

    We must send the right signals to investors: Nigeria is no haven for lawless business!