Africa’s largest mobile operator, MTN, has succeeded in its bid to reduce a $5.2bn £3.4bn) fine imposed by Nigerian authorities for failing to cut off unregistered users.
Nigeria wants mobile phone companies to verify the identity of their customers.
The government says it is concerned unregistered Sim cards are being used by criminal gangs.
The South African company has been in talks with authorities since October when the original fine was imposed.
It said on Thursday it had succeeded in reducing the fine by a third.
The original fine amounted to double MTN’s annual profits last year.
Since it was imposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), MTN has made a number of senior managerial changes, which included the resignation of the chief executive of its Nigerian unit, Sifiso Dabengwa.
“After further engagements with the Nigerian authorities, the NCC has reduced the imposed fine,” MTN said in a statement. It added the fine was now $3.4bn.
Admired and valued
MTN has 231 million subscribers in 22 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. However, Nigeria is its biggest market.
In September, the company was named as most admired brand in Africa in the Brand Africa 100 awards, beating Samsung, while it was also awarded the continent’s most valuable brand, worth $4.6bn (£3bn).
MTN was South Africa’s second mobile operator when it was set up in 1994 after the end of apartheid.
It began its expansion across Africa four years later with operations in Rwanda, Uganda and Swaziland.