The embattled telecommunication company, MTN Nigeria has sought the intervention of the South African High Commission following the N1.04tn fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC for alleged breach of subscriber identity module registration rules.
It was learnt that the telecom firm approached the mission to prevail on the Federal Government to either waive the fine or reduce it drastically.
A source close to the High Commission said that MTN has been briefing the mission about its engagement with the NCC over the whopping fine, which it was learnt may cripple its operations in the country.
The South African company, which operates in more than 21 countries across Africa and the Middle East, considers Nigeria as its cash cow with over 62 million subscribers.
“MTN has sought the assistance of the South African embassy over the NCC fine; although it is negotiating with the NCC over the matter, the firm is also considering using diplomatic and political levers to resolve the issue of the fine which it finds disproportionate,” the source stated.
The NCC had fined the telecom giant for allegedly having pre-registered SIM cards in its systems which made it impossible to verify the personal details of subscribers, thereby compromising national security.
The NCC Director, Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, said MTN was discovered to be harbouring about 5.2 million defective SIM cards on its network which it failed to deactivate.
The NCC had in September fined MTN and other telecom firms including Airtel, Globacom and Etisalat a total sum of N120.4m for having incomplete and pre-registered SIM cards in their systems.
The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni confirmed that the mission may intervene if approached by MTN over the NCC fine.
“They (MTN) are engaging the NCC for now, we cannot get involved in the matter until MTN asks us to intervene, but we are watching the process,” he stated.