Etisalat sues MTN over use of 800MHZ spectrum

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Etisalat Nigeria has instituted a legal action against MTN Nigeria and Visafone Limited, challenging MTN’s use of the 800MHZ spectrum following the acquisition of Visafone.

An insider in the company told DAILY POST on Saturday that the action is considered necessary “to prevent the use of the spectrum by MTN at this time”.

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 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.

The source told our correspondent that “We have in addition and in line with Section 86 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 engaged the NCC to understand the basis of its decision to approve the acquisition.

Asked to comment further, he said: “As you are aware, the matter is already in court as such, we are restrained from commenting further.”

DAILY POST recalls that MTN Nigeria on Thursday January 7 2016, announced that it has completed the acquisition of Visafone, Nigeria’s only surviving Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA).

MTN Executive, Ms Amina Oyagbola in a statement, noted that the acquisition of Visafone was in line with a continued commitment by MTN to improve the quality of broadband services for its subscribers.

She said that the acquisition, which sought to leverage resources for service enhancement, was also reflective of the company’s concerted efforts to deepen the growth and rollout of broadband services across the country.

”We are committed to exploring avenues for meeting our customers’ increasing data needs in line with our vision ‘to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our customers.

”As we work to maximise our data capabilities towards achieving broadband of international quality, our objective is to ensure that Nigerians experience a boost in the quality of broadband internet services.

”This will translate to the much needed enhanced data speeds and value to enhance personal and business productivity.

”The acquisition of Visafone highlights MTN’s commitment to Nigeria. More capacity will facilitate enhanced product/service offerings and experience in the data space to the delight of our valued customers.

”Voice is still King. However, data is becoming increasingly important in our everyday lives and our energies are focused on enhancing data and internet services to the benefit of our customers and the country at large,” she said.

Two thousand employees of Visafone were disengaged on January 5 2016 and were paid three months salaries as severance package. Staff members left are those in the personnel and transmission departments​.

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