Telecommunications stocks have been battered in 2018 and all four of the sector’s largest players are now trading at, or near, multiyear lows. Blue Label Telecoms, which distributes airtime and owns 45% of Cell C, has led the decline, having more than halved in value so far in 2018. Its stock has fallen from R14.92 at the end of December to a six-year low of R5.87 on Tuesday. Rocked by its regulatory issues in Nigeria, shares in MTN closed below R70 on Monday for the first time in 12 years, before recovering to R73.06 by Tuesday’s close. Vodacom and Telkom’s share prices are both close to their lowest levels in four years. While all four companies are facing regulatory and structural headwinds — particularly as traditional voice revenues decline — MTN’s shares have been hammered by Nigerian authorities as well.

The group, which is yet to pay the final instalment of its $1.5bn fine in Nigeria for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM cards, was recently told to return $8.1bn w...

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