Lagos - Shares of mobile telecom
giant MTN Group [JSE:MTN] fell by over percent after Ivory Coast's government
named it as one of five companies that risk losing operating licences due to
poor levels of service.
The Ivorian government also plans to ensure
that the country's seven operators are at least 15% locally owned.
"Within six months we will take stock
of our agreements, our commercial agreements, technical agreements and
financial agreements of all the operators with the state regulator of Ivory
Coast," Information Technology and Communications Minister Bruno Kone said
during a visit to telcoms operator MTN in Abidjan.
"I can tell you already, the head of
state is encouraging us, instructing us even, to shut down all operators not up
to date," he said.
Kone said the government was disappointed
with the quality of service in the sector.
"Not a day passes that there are not
complaints about service ... We think that the population everywhere has the
right to better service," he said.
MTN International holds 64.67% in the
Ivorian subsidiary and the remaining 35.33% belongs to other unspecified
shareholders, its website said.
Ivory Coast, French-speaking West Africa's
largest economy, has around 18 million mobile phone subscribers out of a total
estimated population of 24 million.
Other existing operators are France
Telecom's Orange, Libya's Green, Etisalat's Moov and Koz of Lebanon-based
MTN shares are down 2.4% at R166.85, making
it the biggest decliner on the benchmark Top 40 - (Tradeable) [JSE:J200] index.