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MTN to join talks with Nigeria watchdog over SIM-card sales halt

MTN’s local unit is the the West African country’s biggest wireless operator.
Image: George Osodi/Bloomberg

Telecommunications companies in Nigeria, including MTN Group and Airtel Africa Plc, will meet authorities to discuss the suspension of SIM-card sales pending an audit by the industry regulator of their compliance with registration rules.

“MTN Nigeria customers can continue to access all other services such as airtime and data purchases” and support, the company said in an emailed statement, adding it had complied with the directive.

The company “will join other industry stakeholders in a meeting with Isa Ali Pantami, the minister of communications and digital economy, within a week to chart a course of action,” it said.

The Nigerian Communications Commission on Thursday ordered an immediate halt to the sale, registration and activation of new SIM cards until it completed the review. It didn’t say how long the process would take.

MTN shares were down 4% as of 10:32 a.m. in Johannesburg, extending a loss of 3.8% on Thursday. MTN Nigeria Communications Plc closed down 0.8% in Lagos, and Airtel Africa was 2.7% lower in London.

MTN’s local unit is the the West African country’s biggest wireless operator, while Airtel Africa, which listed in Lagos and London last year, vies with local operator Globacom Ltd. as the country’s second-biggest carrier.

The NCC fined MTN in 2015 for failing to disconnect undocumented SIM cards as part of a security crackdown. The matter was resolved a year later when the company paid 330 billion naira ($839 million) after extensive negotiations.

© 2020 Bloomberg

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Always some trouble in Nigeria.

Seems that it is the nature of the market MTN is in, make it very big or hang in and make it big later.

No new sim cards sold, MTN can still make good money from airtime and data.

But, how do you take Dollars/profit out of Nigeria? Has this one been resolved?

Possibly via MTN being listed on the Nigerian Exchange… maybe … not sure?

To be honest, MTN did not follow the rules of Nigeria. Simple checks could have been done to verify they are in compliance, but they did not,neither did they disconnect the SIM cards, so they tried their luck.
SA companies need to understand and learn, when you are on the international stage, you are being scrutinized more and many sharks want a piece of your pie. So wake up and start acting responsibly

I have read that a similar audit was done in December 2019. No issues then.

Airtel not majorly affected.

Guess its easier to short MTN.

End of comments.

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