Airtel, 9mobile bicker over transfer of Visafone’s 800MHz to MTN

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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.

For his part, Lucky Ubani, Airtel’s representative, urged the NCC not to allow MTN acquire the spectrum as such a 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, noted that 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 per cent broadband coverage by end of 2018.

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