Africa’s largest mobile phone operator MTN has bought Visafone Communications, Nigeria’s surviving CDMA operator, for an undisclosed amount, according to a media report published on Thursday. By Staff Writer
The Leadership newspaper said the deal by MTN to acquire Visafone has been given a nod by the country’s communications industry watchdog, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The newspaper added that the deal which was sanctioned in late December 2015 allows MTN Nigeria to utilise Visafone’s 800MHz spectrum to launch fourth generation long term evolution (4GLTE) services.
According to the Leadership newspaper’s sources MTN will formally issue a statement on the JSE before the week runs out.
Visafone, which was incorporated in Nigeria on June 20, 2007 following the acquisition of Cellcom received its Unified Access Service Licence as a telecom operator from the NCC on August 1, 2007 positioned it to offer mobile, fixed and any other telecommunications service to its subscribers.
The newspaper said as part of the deal, more than two million existing Visafone subscribers will be migrated onto the MTN Nigeria network.
It added that the move will give MTN edge over other mobile operators as the first major operator to introduce 4G voice telephony (VoLTE). Visafone is owned by Mr. Jim Ovia, one of Nigeria’s leading bankers, and technology investors. He also owns Cyberspace, an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Meanwhile, MTN is challenging the NCC in the Federal High Court in Lagos over a proposed R59 billion ($3.9 billion) fine for failure to register customers.