South African mobile operator MTN Group said that it has “valid grounds” on which to contest a $3.9 billion fine it received from Nigeria’s telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The NCC originally handed MTN Nigeria a fine of N1.04 trillion ($5.2bn) in October for failing to fully deactivate 5.2 million subscribers with unregistered and incomplete SIM card details within the deadline given to all mobile phone operators in the country. The regulator later reduced the fine to $3.9 billion.
MTN said that, based on legal advice, it had concluded that the NCC had exceeded it powers granted by the Nigerian Communications Act and therefore there are valid grounds upon which to challenge the fine.
“MTN Nigeria acting on legal advice has resolved that the manner of the imposition of the fine and the quantum thereof is not in accordance with the NCC’s powers under the Nigerian Communications Act and therefore there are valid grounds upon which to challenge the fine,” the company said in a statement.
“Accordingly MTN has followed due process and has instructed its lawyers to proceed with an action in the Federal High Court in Lagos seeking the appropriate reliefs.”
The operator said that the decision to contest the NCC’s decision came after a careful review “of the circumstances leading to the fine and the subsequent letters received from the NCC”.
However, MTN said that it would also continue to engage with the Nigerian Authorities to work towards an “amicable resolution in the best interests of the Company, its stakeholders and the Nigerian Authorities”.