Visafone spectrum: MTN contends with Airtel, 9moble

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Airtel and 9mobile, mobile network operators in the country, have opposed the transfer of an 800MHz from Visafone Communications to MTN Nigeria.
Speaking in Abuja on Monday at a public inquiry organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), representatives of the operators said transferring the spectrum to MTN could result in a monopoly.
Chidozie Arinze, 9mobile’s head of regulatory affairs, said spectrum is a scarce national resource which cannot be leased to only MTN at the detriment of other operators.
On his part, Lucky Ubani, Airtel’s representative, urged the NCC not to allow MTN acquire the spectrum as such step would extend its market dominance beyond voice segment, which he said could spell doom for the industry.
He warned that care should be taken in order not to create another monopoly in the market.
Johnson Oyewo, MTN’s senior manager, regulatory affairs and corporate relations, said the network operators made their conclusions based on presumptions and lack of data.
He said the desire for the acquisition of the 800MHz spectrum was not driven by selfishness but to help the country achieve its 30% broadband coverage by end of 2018.
“We want to expand our network to the rural areas and that is the advantage the 800MHz has to a long distance with fewer resources,” NAN quoted him to have said.
“We want to help the Rural Telephony Project at large; it is Nigeria that will benefit from it.
“We see a greater good. We urge the commission that this assessment should not only be based on competition but also on the interest of the consumer and the economy; what that translate is that there will be a direct impact on the GDP.”
Speaking at the event, Umar Danbatta, NCC’s executive vice-chairman, said the commission held the inquiry to get comments from stakeholders to enable it to draw beneficial contributions from their wealth of experience.
He said the commission is determined to provide qualitative services to subscribers.
In January 2016, MTN had announced that it acquired Visafone.