Benin’s telecoms authority has allowed MTN to resume its wireless operations, ending a two-month suspension following a dispute over licence fees, the regulator said at the weekend. ‘The MTN Group has accepted the conditions laid out in the new fees structure,’ said Victor Tokpanou, vice-president of Benin’s ATRPT. MTN was given the green light to resume operations from Saturday. Tokpanou said MTN had agreed to pay the new fee of XOF30 billion (USD64 million) for the ten-year operating licence, as demanded by the Benin authorities. He said the settlement of the dispute followed talks between Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi and President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, as well as with MTN executives.
In mid-July, in a move that cut off nearly a million subscribers, the ATRPT suspended the networks of both MTN and rival Atlantique Telecom, which is controlled by Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat). The regulator demanded that both sign new contracts because they had changed their names and ownership without permission from the authorities. Atlantique Telecom was allowed to resume its Moov mobile service earlier this month after agreeing to pay the new fee.