Etisalat has instituted a legal action against MTN over the acquisition of Visafone’s 800MHz spectrum.
MTN Group, had last month acquired Visafone, the leading CDMA operator in Nigeria after months of negotiations. The acquisition is expected to provide MTN the robust voice and data platform of Visafone and cater for the booming Internet population in Nigeria.
Etisalat is aggrieved about the transaction, claiming that the South African firm, which has been a dominant player in Nigeria, is enjoying too much favoritism and that the deal would further give MTN more powers to dominate other players in the industry. Etisalat was also said to be aggrieved that the bid was not made open for other players to participate.
MTN operates 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands which the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) renewed last November, similar to frequencies operated by Etisalat and India’s Airtel that use GSM technology.
“The action is considered necessary to challenge the use of the spectrum by MTN at this time,” the local arm of Abu Dhabi-listed telecoms firm Etisalat said in a statement.
“The use of the 800 MHz spectrum to deploy broadband services ahead of its competitors … will further entrench MTN’s dominance in the Nigerian telecommunications sector”.
This is another controversy for MTN, who have been fined $3.9 billion by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to disconnect unregistered lines on time. The telecoms giant has been in a long running battle with the Federal Government of Nigeria over the fine, and the matter was recently taken to court in order for the company to seek redress.
Part of this article was culled from Reuters.