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Vodacom reaches deal with Congo over 2G licence

KINSHASA, June 21 (Reuters) - Vodacom Group has reached an agreement with the Congolese government to end a standoff over the suspension of its 2G telecoms licence, the telecommunications ministry said on Friday.

The ministry suspended the licence in April, saying Vodacom Congo had not followed correct procedure when it paid $16 million to renew it in 2015.

The company has been negotiating with the authorities after losing the chance to challenge the suspension for three months as a result of a court ruling on Monday.

"An agreement has been reached. Vodacom has committed to comply with the demands of the state," said John Aluku, chief of staff to the telecommunications minister.

He declined to give further details. The ministry has previously said that the cost of renewing the licence was $65 million.

Vodacom declined immediate comment. An internal email, seen by Reuters, announced to staff that an agreement had been reached, but did not mention the terms of the deal.

South Africa's Vodacom Group holds a 51% stake in Vodacom Congo.

The suspension has not affected Vodacom Congo's 3G or 4G licences in Congo. It is not clear how many of its 12 million customers only have access to 2G coverage.

(Reporting by Stanis Bujakera and Fiston Mahamba Additional reporting by Aaron Ross in Dakar Editing by Louise Heavens)