mtn-etisalatMay seek Court Order to stop acquisition of Visafone
Following the announced acquisition of Visafone by leading mobile telephone company, MTN Nigeria, one of its competitors, Etisalat Nigeria has filed a law suit against the former, ostensibly to stop the telecommunications company from further entrenching its dominance in the country.
According to reports gathered yesterday, the law suit by Etisalat is hinged on MTN’s recent acquisition of Visafone, announced in January 2016, but approved way back in the last quarter of 2015.
In a statement yesterday, Etisalat said MTN had been declared dominant by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC since 2013, adding that the usage of the 800 Mega Hertz (MHz) spectrum from Visafone would further extend MTN’s dominance.
“You will recall that MTN Nigeria was declared dominant by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC in 2013 and remains dominant in the wholesale leased line and retail voice markets,” the statement said, adding, “the use of the 800MHz spectrum to deploy broadband services ahead of its competitors, particularly those who prior to MTN’s purchase of Visafone, held similar spectrum bands as MTN, will further entrench MTN’s dominance in the Nigerian telecommunications sector.”
Although details were still sketchy at press time, it will be recalled that before the acquisition, MTN only operated 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands, which is also being operated by Etisalat and Airtel who are also using the GSM technology. According to Reuters, Etisalat said it was in contact with the NCC to understand the logic of its decision to approve the MTN deal despite declaring the South African firm a dominant player in Nigeria’s wholesale and retail voice markets in 2013.
One source confided in Nigerian Pilot that Etisalat may explore the possibility of getting the courts to review the reported acquisition of Visafone by MTN, should NCC refuse to accommodate the former’s fears.
Etisalat currently boasts of a customer base of over 21 million, while MTN has about 60 million users in Nigeria.

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