MTN is facing another potential multibillion-rand headache, just days after being cleared by Nigerian politicians over allegations of illegal repatriation of US$14bn in profits. The problem this time is Benin, where the regulator claims MTN owes $213m (R3bn) in spectrum fees.
Arcep, the Benin telecommunications regulator, has begun a process to review the reason why MTN’s operation in the country has not paid outstanding spectrum licence fees for 2016 and 2017.
MTN has called the amount sought “excessive”.
“On 30 March 2017, the government of Benin issued MTN Benin frequency fees invoices for an amount equivalent to approximately $213m for the period from March 2016 to December 2017,” MTN said in a statement after the market in Johannesburg closed on Thursday.
“While the licence agreement prescribes the calculation methodology for frequency fees, it also provides that fees should take into account regional benchmarks, international practices and the local economy,” it said.
“MTN Benin has contested this amount on the basis that, inter alia, the amount is excessive.”
This, it said, has been confirmed by an independent benchmark report commissioned in terms of MTN Benin’s licence.
“We will continue to engage with the regulatory authorities in Benin to find an amicable solution to this matter.”
Benin is a relatively small market for MTN. It has 4.3m subscribers in the country, with each subscriber generating monthly revenue, on average, of $4.99. — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media