The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has lifted the suspension on regulatory services to MTN Nigeria that had been in force since October 2015, MTN Group announced in a Johannesburg Stock Exchange statement. The restoration of regulatory services will enable mobile market leader MTN Nigeria to ‘pursue the necessary approvals, in accordance with the NCC regulatory process, for new tariff plans and promotions as well as other regulatory matters’, the South African firm said. The Nigerian watchdog suspended regulatory services to MTN after the cellco was fined for failing to meet a deadline to disconnect around 5.1 million unregistered subscribers last year.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the NCC agreed to reduce the NGN1.04 trillion (USD5.2 billion) penalty by 25% to NGN780 billion in December, although MTN subsequently launched legal action against the fine. In January the Federal High Court in Lagos adjourned the legal challenge until 18 March, in order to enable the parties to try and settle the matter out of court, and in the latest development on the matter, MTN announced last month that it had withdrawn its lawsuit and had made a ‘good faith payment’ of NGN50 billion to the federal government with a view to reaching a possible settlement. The South African firm says it is continuing to engage with the Nigerian authorities ‘in an attempt to ensure an amicable resolution to this matter’.