MTN reviews operations in Nigeria, 21 other countries

Africa’s biggest mobile-phone firm, MTN Group Ltd, has said it is conducting a review to decide whether it really needs to be in all 22 of its markets across Africa and the Middle East.

Some of the markets are tiny, others are war-torn while still more have regulators desperate to curb the telco’s perceived dominance.

MTN is highly unlikely to leave Nigeria, its biggest market, as it expects double-digit sales growth in the medium term, above an overall average of high-single digits, as economic conditions improve and it gains subscribers from troubled competitors.

As part of the fine settlement, it agreed to list its local unit on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Talks are also ongoing with the regulator to use spectrum gained from its acquisition of Visafone in 2016.

In Benin republic, MTN is in a dispute with regulatory authorities on frequency fees, which it said are too high.

The telco received a $6.6 million fine from Cameroon’s telecoms regulator and a one-year reduction in its licence term for allegedly not complying with spectrum and subscriber registration regulations.

And in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, MTN said it won’t invest in countries it classified as “conflict markets,” which means the local units have to be self-funding to stay in business.

Iran is one of MTN’s top three markets but the company is struggling to repatriate cash that’s been stuck in the country for years due to former U.S.-led and U.K. Sanctions..

MTN has agreed to sell shares in its local unit to Ghanaian investors in exchange for a 4G license.


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