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MTN Nigeria fined $5.2 billion for failing to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered cell users

FILE- In this Monday April. 22, 2013 file photo, staff of MTN Nigeria workduring the launch of mobile number portability in Lagos, Nigeria. MTN Group telecommunication’s stock plunged 12.5 percent on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Monday, Oct. 26, 2015 on the news that its most lucrative subsidiary, in Nigeria, has been fined $5.2 billion for failing to disconnect millions of unregistered cellphone subscribers.The Nigerian Communications Commission confirmed the penalty based on 200,000 naira ($1,000) for each of 5.1 million cellphone SIM cards that had not been registered and should have been disconnected by an August deadline.  (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba file)

FILE- In this Monday April. 22, 2013 file photo, staff of MTN Nigeria workduring the launch of mobile number portability in Lagos, Nigeria. MTN Group telecommunication’s stock plunged 12.5 percent on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Monday, Oct. 26, 2015 on the news that its most lucrative subsidiary, in Nigeria, has been fined $5.2 billion for failing to disconnect millions of unregistered cellphone subscribers.The Nigerian Communications Commission confirmed the penalty based on 200,000 naira ($1,000) for each of 5.1 million cellphone SIM cards that had not been registered and should have been disconnected by an August deadline. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba file)  (The Associated Press)

MTN Nigeria has been fined $5.2 billion for failing to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered cellphone subscribers.

The stock of the South African-based company fell 14 percent on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Monday's news.

The Nigerian Communications Commission confirmed the penalty based on 200,000 naira ($1,000) for each cellphone SIM card that had not been registered by its August deadline.

MTN promised a statement later Monday. The $5.2 billion is at least two average years' profit for MTN Nigeria, by far the MTN Group's most lucrative subsidiary, and nearly three times the $1.8 billion that it has invested in Nigeria, according to the company's website.

MTN says it has about 62 million customers among Nigeria's 170 million people.