MTN Nigeria Fined $5 Billion over Sim Card Registration


MTN NigeriaIn 2013, the Kenyan government issued a directive to all Telcos requiring that they register all SIM cards used in Kenya. The directive followed the enactment of the Kenya Information and Communication Act, to register and store the details of all their mobile subscribers. The four telcos at the time took to registration of the SIM cards and the same has continued whenever a subscribers buys a new SIM card.

The Kenyan government then launched the Integrated Population Registration System (IPRS) set to serve as the single one stop shop for personal information and biometric for both locals and foreigners in March 2015. The the Central Bank of Kenya, the government issued strict guidelines to banks and telecommunication companies to confirm customers’ identity card numbers using the system before registering them.  The directive sought to curb money laundering and financing of terrorist activities.

The same took place in Nigeria where Nigeria’s Communications Commission asked mobile phone operators to disconnect unregistered Sim cards bought before January 2012.  The law in Nigeria stipulates that anyone buying a Sim Card should have it registered under their name as is the case in Kenya.  The regulator then asked the Nigerian mobile phone operators to register all their customers, but MTN which is the largest operator failed to do so. The Commission then slapped MTN Nigeria with the $5 billion fine for failing to abide by these rules. According to BBC, the fine is the largest in the history of telecom infringements in Nigeria.

Source: BBC