MTN has confirmed the fine, and issued the following statement:
Shareholders are advised that the NCC has imposed a fine equivalent to US$5.2 billion on MTN Nigeria.
This fine relates to the timing of the disconnection of 5.1 million MTN Nigeria subscribers who were disconnected in August and September 2015 and is based on a fine of N200, 000 for each unregistered subscriber.
MTN Nigeria is currently in discussions with the NCC to resolve the matter in recognition of the circumstances that prevailed with regard to these subscribers.
The Nigerian Communications Commission has hit MTN Nigeria with a 1.04 trillion naira fine (R71 billion), according to a report by Nigerian Technology Times.
The publication confirmed the figure from the new chief of the watchdog, Professor Uman Danbatta, who said the matter is a punitive sanction against the MTN Group over allegations that it breached SIM registration rules in the country.
According to sources cited by the NTT, MTN Nigeria allegedly disobeyed directives by the NCC to deactivate unregistered mobile phones, which subsequently opened the country to “grave security threats”.
More sources within MTN Nigeria reportedly confirmed that communications of the fine had reached the group in the country.
The fine is reportedly the largest ever in the history of Nigerian telecoms.
MTN Group announced in a trading statement last week that its Nigerian operation lost 5.1 million subscriber lines in August due to the deactivation of incomplete SIM registrations ordered by NCC.