The tussle for the spectrum of Visafone has been on since the acquisition of the Code-division multiple access (CDMA) operator by MTN Nigeria back in 2015.
MTN acquired 100% of Visafone but the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) still gets to decide who will have access to the spectrum of the acquired telco even after the acquirer had successfully integrated Visafone customers.
In 2016, Etisalat Nigeria — now 9mobile — challenged MTN in court over the acquisition of Visafone’s 800 MHz spectrum on the basis that the acquisition would seal the South African telecom giant’s dominance in the retail data service market in Nigeria.
Now, 9mobile is teaming up with Airtel to oppose the transfer of the spectrum.
According to the Nigerian Communications Week, at a hearing for the transfer of the spectrum in Abuja recently both telcos revealed that the transfer would give an undue advantage for MTN to further dominate the Nigerian market.
The hearing is meant to allow NCC get telecom stakeholders’ reactions about the acquisition which could affect its decision on the transfer of the spectrum.
A representative of Airtel Nigeria, Lucky Ubani urged the telecom industry regulator not to allow MTN to acquire the spectrum in order to prevent its dominance of the company beyond voice segment.
For MTN, getting the spectrum would ensure that Nigeria achieves its target of 30% broadband penetration by the end of 2018. But as it stands, the fate of the allocation of the 800MHz spectrum is at the mercy of NCC.
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