Dakar — Vodacom’s local unit in the Democratic Republic of Congo has filed a lawsuit against the revocation of its 2G telecoms licence, the country’s telecommunications minister said on Wednesday.

The ministry withdrew the licence in April, saying in a written order that its renewal in 2015 for $16m did not follow proper procedures. The ministry says the actual cost of renewing the licence is $65m. 

Vodacom, which holds a 51% stake in Vodacom Congo, said in a statement that “it is in ongoing discussions with all the relevant authorities to resolve this unfortunate situation”.

“Vodacom Congo followed a legally prescribed process when its 2G licence was extended in 2015 and duly complied with all applicable laws and regulations,” it said.

A hearing on Vodacom’s challenge of the suspension took place on Monday before the Council of State, which is expected to render a judgment soon, telecommunications minister Emery Okundji told Reuters, without providing additional details.

Vodacom Congo also holds 3G and 4G licences, which are not affected by the order. It is not clear how many of its 12-million customers have been affected by the April order.

Vodacom’s operations in Congo accounted for $473.4m of the company's $5.85bn in revenues for the year ending March 31.