MTN to more than double spending in Nigeria this fiscal year – Reuters

JOHANNESBURG, June 15 (Reuters) – MTN Group will more than double capital spending in Nigeria in the 2016 fiscal year, it said, days after agreeing to pay a heavily reduced penalty to settle a regulatory dispute with the west African country.

Africa’s biggest mobile operator will spend 11.1 billion rand ($726.13 million) to upgrade its network in Nigeria, it a said in a presentation posted on its website. That is substantially higher than its spending of nearly 5 billion rand last year.

Johannesburg-based MTN said on Friday, after months of talks, that it had agreed to pay a heavily reduced fine of $1.7 billion, or a third of the initial penalty, in a settlement with Nigeria for missing a deadline to deactivate more than 5 million unregistered SIM cards.

MTN is the largest mobile phone operator in Nigeria with 57 million subscribers, and the country accounts for about a third of its revenues.

MTN’s plan will see the roll out of 3G network population coverage from 67.23 percent to about 90 percent, the presentation said. The aggressive rollout of fibre to six Nigerian cities by the end of 2016 will enable the connections.

The company also said it expected higher revenues in Nigeria supported by reconnecting subscribers and the introduction of new services in May.