NCC could slash tech giant's N1.04 trillion fine

This comes after the Commission reportedly received a letter from MTN, apologizing for its part in the scandal – which has lasted for about two weeks now – and pleading for leniency.

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According to various media report, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) could be asked to cut down the N1.04 trillion fine imposed on telecoms giant MTN over its failure to fulfill the regulators directives to deactivate improperly registered SIM cards.

This comes after the Commission reportedly received a letter from MTN, apologizing for its part in the scandal – which has lasted for about two weeks now – and pleading for leniency.

According to a report by Vanguard, a source at the NCC affirmed that the Commission had received MTN’s letter of apology but added that the power to reduce the fine no longer rested in the hands of the NCC.

“I can confirm that the commission has received an official letter from MTN admitting its guilt and pleading for leniency. However, the power to grant the leniency is no longer entirely on NCC’s hands but that of the presidency. But there are also indications that the Federal Government may ask us to reduce the fine to an appreciable level,” the source said, according to the report.

The source further added that, “If MTN had complied with several directives by the NCC it wouldn’t have been in this mess but I hope they learn their lessons from this. Nigeria is its biggest market. It was surprising that they didn’t anticipate that if things get wrong here, it could affect their other markets. Now, it is alleged that it has lost more than $2.7b from people migrating from its shares to others since this incident. It’s a lesson they should not allow to recur.”

MTN has a November 16 deadline to pay the fine, which was issued for the company’s failure to to deactivate 5.1 million pre-registered SIM cards, and stands the risk of not being able to renew its operator license.

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