By Odunewu Segun
Telecom giant, MTN Nigeria is set to take over Visafone assets following the decision of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to transfer the license of the CDMA operator to it as the new owner.
This will also involve the transfer of Visafone’s frequencies to the new owner.
Recall that Visafone Communications had won the Unified Access Services Licence in 2007 and had complied with the terms and conditions given it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) when it had decided to sell the company to MTN.
The company applied for the approval of NCC to enable MTN Nigeria to acquire 100 percent equity of Visafone, by virtue of share transfer agreement, without any request for the unified spectrum licence transfer.
MTN later in 2016, announced that it had completed the acquisition of Visafone, the only surviving Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) network in Nigeria’s telecommunications industry.
National Daily gathered that the acquisition was approved by the NCC as required by the law, however, the regulatory agency later made a U-turn and issued a statement clarifying that the transfer of the shares of Visafone to MTN did not automatically mean the transfer of the licence and frequency to the mobile operator.
After completing the transfer, the NCC ordered Visafone to submit a certified true copy of statement of share capital and return of allotment of shares from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), duly filed at the CAC, or an extract from the register of members as well as a certified true copy of particulars of directors or any change therein, duly filed at CAC for record purposes.
According to findings by National Daily, the CDMA business was a drain pipe on the financial resources of Visafone. The business is highly capital intensive which requires billions of Naira in capital expenditure to compete with the more popular and profitable GSM business.
With the acquisition and eventual transfer of frequencies, MTN is expected to provide it with the robust voice and data platform of Visafone and cater for the booming internet population in Nigeria.
According to data from NCC, the CDMA segment commands a meager 0.14% market share. Out of this, Visafone has a total of 30,305 internet subscribers as of April, 2018. MTN could leverage on Visafone’s operations, brand and network infrastructure to further enforce itself as the market leader in the country.