The Nigeria’s Communications Commission asked mobile phone operators to disconnect unregistered Sim cards. Failure to comply with the directive saw all 4 mobile operators in the populous nation from Airtel, Etisalat to Globacom and MTN Nigeria slapped with fines in August 2015. In October, the NCC fined MTN Nigeria $5 billion fine for failing to abide by these rules. According to the NCC, MTN failed to register 5 Million of its 62 million customers.
The fine led to the resignation of MTN Nigeria CEO and subsequently a former CEO and Chairman credited with turning MTN into the biggest telco in Africa took over operations. The share price of MTN, which is a public company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has fallen by 22% since the announcement of the fine. According to Bloomberg, the Nigerian government wants all SIM cards registered to to curb money laundering and financing of terrorist activities. Nigeria is also faces crimes such as kidnappings for ransom and oil theft perpetrated via mobile devices.
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has now agreed to reduce MTN’s fine to $3.4bn, payable no later than December 31. MTN will be required to pay $3.4 Billion with NCC saying the fine was reduced after considering a formal request. MTN said it will consider engaging with the NCC before formally responding to the fine. The CEO of MTN Nigeria has resigned as MTN seeks to institute management changes.