File picture: Afolabi Sotunde

Abuja - Nigeria will start new talks with South African mobile phone operator MTN “very soon” to settle a dispute over a $3.9 billion fine, but the final decision rests with President Muhammadu Buhari, the communications minister said.

“It is (now) for government to meet with them and conclude negotiations,” telecommunications minister Adebayo Shittu told Reuters.

Read: MTN drops its Nigerian lawsuit

Last week, MTN said it had withdrawn a lawsuit against Nigeria over the fine, which originally stood at $5.2 billion.

MTN was fined for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM users and has paid $250 million towards a settlement.