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Telecommunications regulator, Nigeria's Communications Commission, has issued mobile phone firm MTN Nigeria, with a $5bn (£3.5bn) fine for failing to disconnect subscribers with unregistered Sim cards bought before January 2012, BBC reports.

mtnigeria.jpe The fine is the largest in the history of telecom infringements in Nigeria and may redefine the relationships between telecommunications operators and the regulator.

From that date anyone buying a Sim card in Nigeria has had to register it under their name by law.

Phone companies were told to register their existing customers' Sim cards, which MTN Nigeria - the biggest telecommunications firm in Nigeria - has failed to do.

Few days ago, MTN also reported a slowdown in quarterly subscriber growth caused by stiff competition and tougher regulation in the Nigerian market as well as disconnecting some of its subscribers due to sim registration failure.