Nigeria says fines mobile firms MTN, Airtel and Glo for poor service

ABUJA Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:17pm EST

ABUJA Feb 27 (Reuters) - Nigeria's telecoms regulator has fined mobile operators MTN, Airtel and Globacom a combined 647.5 million naira ($4 million) and banned them from selling SIM cards in March due to poor service, it said on Thursday.

Globacom, which is owned by Nigerian billionaire Mike Adenuga, was fined 277.5 million naira, while South Africa's MTN and Airtel, which is owned by India's Bharti Airtel, were each fined 185 million naira, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said in a statement.

The NCC will charge each company 2.5 million naira for every day the fine is not paid after March 7, it said. The month-long ban on selling SIM cards in a country of around 170 million people could be the most damaging.

The penalties were imposed because the operators had failed to meet key performance indicators in January, the NCC said. (Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Greg Mahlich)