Telecom giant MTN Nigeria has been fined a record $5.2bn by Nigeria’s Communications Commission (NCC).
MTN was fined for non-compliance with a deadline set by the NCC to disconnect all non-registered sim cards.The move follows accusations by mobile phone users that the regulator had failed to bring operators to account for poor services to subscribers.
MTN Nigeria allegedly disobeyed directives by the NCC to deactivate unregistered mobile phones, which subsequently opened the country to “grave security threats”.
The fine is reportedly the largest ever in the history of Nigerian telecoms.
MTN Group announced in a trading statement last week that its Nigerian operation lost 5.1 million subscriber lines in August due to the deactivation of incomplete SIM registrations ordered by NCC.
Shortly after 14:00, MTN’s share price declined 4.28% to trade at R182.67 on the JSE.
BBC Abuja editor Bashir Sa’ad Abdullahi says some Nigerians say they want the regulator to address poor network signals provided by telecoms companies in the country.
They want more sanctions on firms to encourage them to improve signals and the quality of service in the country, he says.
Statistics from the NCC indicates that Nigeria, a country with an estimated population of more than 170 million, has almost 150 million mobile phones.