Nigerian Communications Commission, the country’s telecommunications regulator, has issued mobile phone firm MTN Nigeria, with a $5bn (£3.5bn) fine for failing to disconnect millions subscribers with unregistered Sim cards bought before January 2012.
From that date anyone buying a Sim card in Nigeria has had to register it under their name by law.
Phone companies were told to register their existing customers’ Sim cards, which MTN Nigeria – the biggest telecommunications firm in Nigeria – has failed to do.
The fine is the largest in the history of telecom infringements in Nigeria and may redefine the relationships between telecommunications operators and the regulator. Nigerians continue to complain about poor services from mobile network operators and blame the regulators for not doing enough to solve the problem.
A senior executive at MTN Nigeria says that the company will issue a statement on the fine later today.