Africa’s telecommunications giant, MTN has lost its seven-year status as Africa’s highest valued telecom operator to Vodacom Group Ltd as its market capitalization plunged to 244 billion rand, $16.2 billion, while Vodacom was valued at 249 billion rand at the close of market on Wednesday at Johannesburg Stock Exchange, JSE, in South Africa.
This development is a clear indication that MTN is still bearing the brunt of its negligence to deactivate 5.2 million mobile lines in its Nigerian operation which led to a multibillion dollar.
The telco was slammed with a N1.04 trillion ($5.2 billion) fine in October 2015 by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failure to deactivate unregistered subscriber lines, a directive given by the telecom regulator and the Nigerian security agencies aimed at fighting insurgency.
In December last year, the fine was reduced by 25 per cent to N780 billion ($3.9 billion) after the firm pleaded for leniency from the Nigerian authorities.
MTN’s shares have since October 26, 2014 toppled 31 percent, when the Nigeria fine was made public while Vodacom has gained 12 per cent in the same period in its market value.