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Nigerian telecom operators oppose spectrum transfer

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Nigerian telecom operators oppose spectrum transfer
Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta is the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Office (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission.

9 mobile and Airtel, Nigerian mobile network operators have opposed the transfer of an 800MHz license from Visafone Communications to MTN Nigeria.

The operators argued that transferring Visafone’s 800 Megahertz spectrum would concentrate spectrum available in the country on MTN and give the company undue advantage to further dominate the Nigerian telecom market.

MTN completed the acquisition of Visafone Communications in December 2015 for USD219 million with a view to utilising Visafone’s 2×10MHz of 800MHz spectrum to roll out 4G LTE services. In 2016, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) questioned whether the 800MHz frequencies should be included in MTN’s takeover of Visafone.

The NCC had approved the acquisition deal but had not approved the transfer of the frequency and licence to MTN.

At a stakeholder meeting held by the NCC on Monday, 25 June 2018, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, said the public inquiry is important in order for the stakeholders to make an informed decision on the matter.

According to Danbatta, the NCC under the law can take a decision on the transfer of licence and resources, including the 800MHz Spectrum from Visafone Communications Limited to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.

“In order to reap the benefits of effective utilisation of spectrum as well as improve operational efficiency and regulatory excellence, the Commission in accordance with its mandate as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act NCA 2003 embarked on re-planning of some of its Frequency bands,” he said.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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