A legal battle between MTN Group and a subsidiary of Turkcell dating back to 2013 about the former’s entry into Iran was dismissed with costs by the high court of South Africa, a development which looks to have ended the bitter spat.

In a stock market statement, MTN explained the decision put an end to the litigation.

The South Africa-based operator had faced complaints filed by Turkcell and its subsidiary East Asian Consortium (EAC), which sought damages of $4.2 billion excluding interest.

Turkcell itself dropped out of proceedings in late 2020 leaving EAC as the sole plaintiff as of the judgement yesterday (30 November).

Claims against MTN centred around the circumstances of it entering the Iran market in 2005, when it acquired a 49 per cent stake in the company which eventually became the country’s first private operator at the expense of Turkcell. MTN Irancell launched commercially the following year.

The row over its entry became increasingly bitter, with accusations of bribery and foul play against MTN in winning the race to enter the market. Claims regularly denied.

In its statement today, MTN noted it was “delighted at the outcome as it has consistently maintained that the Turkcell litigation was without merit”.