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By NBF News
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Mobile-phone companies have reached an agreement to pay N1.17billion fines set last month by the national telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, for failing to meet minimum service standards, Bloomberg reports

The spokesman for NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, also stated that payments would probably be made within the next week.

He didn't say if the companies would pay the said N1.17 billion set on May 11 and the additional charges of N2.5 million  a day after the May 21 deadline.

He said, 'The service providers have given their commitment that services are going to improve because substantial investments are going to be made.'

MTN Group Ltd. (MTN), the largest operator in Nigeria, and Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (ETISALAT), known as Etisalat, were each fined N360 million, while Bharti Airtel Ltd. (BHARTI) was given a N270 million penalty and Globacom Ltd. was charged N180million , the commission said May 11. MTN and Etisalat cited lack of power and sabotage as reasons for poor connections and dropped calls.

'We had a most constructive meeting with the NCC in Abuja last night and reached agreement on the key issues,' the chief executive officer of MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd., Brett Goschen , said in an e-mailed reply to questions yesterday.

'We expect to finalise the full agreement by the end of the week including the issue of the payment of the fines.'

While the spokesman for Airtel, Mr. Emeka Oparah,  confirmed that the companies and the NCC reached an agreement, he said he could not immediately provide details of the accord in a phone interview yesterday. Chineze Amanfo, a spokeswoman for Etisalat's Nigeria operation, said that all the company executives met the NCC on Wednesday, though she could not confirm the deal.