The giant of the mobile telecommunication in Africa, MTN, has just cleared a hefty fine due to Nigeria’s communications authority. An issue the telecommunication giant has battled with for about four years.
Between the mobile phone operator and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is undoubtedly a new beginning that is coming. Last Friday, the South African firm paid the last tranche of the $1.6 billion fine imposed on it in 2015 for failing to deactivate some 5.1 million SIM cards. An injunction framed by Nigerian law to fight the Islamist sect Boko Haram.
This was the sixth instalment of a fine that was the subject of much bargaining between the mobile operator and Nigeria. In fact, at the start of the case, the Communications Commission of Nigeria imposed a fine of 5.2 billion US dollars. But the firm was able to obtain from the Nigerian authorities not only a staggered payment, but also a reduction of the fine down to $1.6 billion.
In Nigeria, its largest market, this episode was part of a period of trouble for MTN. In December, the South African group agreed to pay $53 million (47.3 million euros) to settle a dispute with the Nigerian telecoms regulator (NCC) who accused it of repatriating 8.13 billion (7.3 billion euros) to South Africa illegally.
But disputes seem far behind both partners. In mid-May, MTN made a $6 billion introduction to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, a sign of its confidence in the country’s economy.