Embattled South Africa-based mobile operator MTN Group has acquired a Nigerian rival, Visafone, and fired more than 83 percent of its employees, PUNCH reported.
Over 2,000 employees were let go as of Jan. 5 as part of a takeover agreement between the two operators. Affected workers told PUNCH that they were not notified of the decision and it came as a surprise.
“We learnt that the management would downsize, but we were told that that would be later in 2016. It is, however, surprising that they are sending majority of us away so early in the year. Though they paid three months’ severance benefits, but should it be this way?” one Visafone employee told Africa Independent Television.
“Some of us have put in five to 10 years of our lives in keeping the business going, but see what we are getting now. It is well.”
According to Entertainment Express, the acquisition would have been sealed by the end of 2015, but was delayed after MTN Nigeria was slapped with a $5.2 billion fine by the Nigerian Communication Commission in November.
Africa’s largest telecoms operator, MTN has 233 million subscribers in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Nigerian regulators imposed on MTN the largest fine any company on the continent has ever faced for allowing 5.1 million subscribers in Nigeria to continue using unregistered SIM cards after a deactivation deadline expired.
The fine was later reduced to to $3.9 billion, but has yet to be paid. Source AFK Insider