South Africa’s MTN on Tuesday said the Nigerian regulator has renewed its operating spectrum and extended the operating licence for Africa’s biggest mobile firm to 2021 at a cost of $94.2 million.
MTN, which had a $5.2 billion fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission last week for failing to deregister SIM cards in its largest market, said it received confirmation from the regulator that its operating spectrum in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands had been renewed.
MTN’s operating spectrum and its digital mobile licence were issued in 2001, and both were due to expire in February 2016.
Both have now been extended to August 31, 2021, the firm said.
“We view this extension as a demonstration of confidence in MTN’s capacity to continue to provide ground-breaking and innovative services to its customers,” MTN’s Corporate Affairs Executive, Akinwale Goodluck, said in a separate statement.
Shares in MTN, which earns 37 per cent of its revenue from Nigeria, have dropped 25 per cent since the fine was announced last week, and South Africa’s bourse on Monday suspended trading in its stock for a few hours, reports Reuters.
The firm’s shares recovered somewhat in early trade on the bourse, advancing 0.9 percent to 149.50 rand by 0728 GMT.
The company’s largest shareholder, South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation, said it was concerned about MTN’s alleged non-compliance with telecommunications regulations of that country and the allegations that MTN’s management did not immediately disclose material information to the market.