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NCC removes regulatory restrictions on MTN

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has lifted the regulatory restrictions imposed on MTN Nigeria last year.

“I want to confirm to you that the telecoms regulator has restored regulatory services to MTN Nigeria,” a source at MTN Nigeria told New Telegraph yesterday. The commission had, last year, suspended all regulatory services to MTN Nigeria until it pays the N1.04 trillion ($5.2 billion) fine for flouting its directive to deactivate 5.2 million incomplete subscriber identification module (SIM) cards on its network.

As part of the suspension of the regulatory services, the NCC prevented MTN from raising tariffs and launching promotions in October last year when it fined the company for failing to cut off the unregistered SIM cards.

New Telegraph gathered that the restoration of regulatory services to MTN by the telecoms regulator was indicative of the progress being made by the telecoms firm and Nigerian authorities towards amicable resolution of lingering fine crisis. The government had earlier reduced the fine by 25 per cent, bringing the amount payable to N780 billion.

After withdrawing a legal action challenging NCC’s power to impose the fine from court and paying N50 billion down payment, the government had announced its decision to honour the out-of-court settlement offer of MTN.

The MTN had subsequently proposed to the government to pay N300 billion to settle the debt over the next few years. However, sources disclosed the crisis would have been significantly resolved last week but for the objections raised by the federal lawmakers, who insisted the telecoms firm must pay the entire N1.04 trillion.

“Though, President Muahamadu Buhari has also heavily implicated MTN in his first comments on the fine during the visit of President Jacob Zuma to Nigeria, final resolution of the matter is still on the horizon. We hope the crisis would be resolved once Buhari is back into the country,” another industry source told New Telegraph yesterday.

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