NCC Fine MTN Nigeria With Record High NGN1 Trillion
MTN Nigeria has been issued with a NGN1 trillion (approximately US$5.2bn) fine, arguably one of the highest in the history of the West African country’s telecommunications sector, after allegedly violating a SIM registration order from the government.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is believed to have discovered that MTN still had active pre-registered SIM cards on its network and this resulted in a hefty penalty for failing to deactivate lines with incomplete registration details.
According to the NCC by having lines with incomplete registration details active on the network, the purpose of the SIM registration exercise could not be satisfactory achieved – which is to arm security operatives with biometric details of mobile telecoms subscribers for national security purposes.
“They have disobeyed several directives issued them”, claimed a source at the NCC.
An executive at MTN also confirmed receipt of NCC’s correspondence containing the fine. “We are in discussions with them”, the executive said, adding the MTN is already talking to NCC to resolve the matter.
Just last month, the regulator slapped the country’s four major telecoms companies – MTN, Airtel, Globacom and Etisalat with fines for having active pre-registered lines on their networks.
The four companies were instructed to pay N120.4 million as penalty for non-compliance with the NCC directive.
According to the Commission the telecommunication companies frustrate the practice of using biometrics for SIM card verification. The NCC says this works as a proof of ownership credential and makes the owners of lines in Nigeria accountable for actions, including criminal activities that may be perpetrated with the SIM cards.