Nigeria: MTN In Suspense Over NCC's Decision To Review Visafone Licence

The plans of leading telecommunications company MTN Nigeria to acquire Visafone's license, frequencies and subscribers, has been suspended by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to enable the commission to examine the acquisition more closely.

The network regulator released a statement, saying that it would bring to the public its final decision before the middle of July on whether MTN Nigeria would be allowed or otherwise to continue the use of the 800MHz spectrum it acquired alongside Visafone licence.

NCC's decision-making process started when Visafone applied to the regulatory agency for the transfer of its frequency and licence to MTN following the acquisition of 100 per cent equity of Visafone by the most extensive network provider in 2015.

Stakeholders in the telecoms sector that NCC is stalling the process of acquisition because two mobile network operators Airtel and 9mobile, who are competitors in the country, have openly stood against the transfer of an 800MHz from Visafone Communications to MTN Nigeria, with the claim that transferring the said spectrum to MTN could result in a monopoly.

Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, said the commission would make an informed decision on the transfer and acquisition issue that is consistent with its mandate to create an enabling environment for healthy competition in Nigeria's telecoms sector.

Prof Danbatta stated that the decision that will be reached by the commission on the matter would also ensure the that all telecoms company satisfy their customers by meeting the provision of quality and efficient telecommunications services across both in the urban and rural areas in the country.

Although competitors are very much against the takeover, recent reports are showing that Nigerian subscribers and industry agencies are in favour of MTN taking the operating license and frequency spectrum of Visafone’s Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator.


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