The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given the reason why issuing a new license to another telecoms operator to serve the Nigerian market is not feasible presently.
Head, Wireless Network Unit, NCC, Mr Chukwuma Nwaiwu while answering a question at a workshop in Abuja from a subscriber who had made a case for another mobile operator given the largeness of the Nigerian telecommunications market, said all available frequencies for digital mobile services have been allocated.
Nwaiwu noted that a new mobile operator licensed to serve the Nigerian market would be left stranded because all available frequencies had been allocated to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, Airtel, Globacom, and Ntel.
According to him
“All available channels are occupied. No frequency is available to be allocated to a new operator.”
The telecoms sector has continued to witness tremendous growth in the last few years with operators raising funds for expansion and improvement on their technology.
Recently, Airtel announced that it had raised $1.25 billion from six global investors. Among the new investors are SoftBank Group Corp, Warburg Pincus LLC and Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited. The $1.25 billion fund, which was sourced through a primary equity issuance, now values the telco at $4.4 billion and will be used to reduce existing debt of about $5 billion and grow its Nigeria and other Africa operations.
Also, MTN has revealed plans to launch its mobile money platform in Nigeria next year. This will start after the apex bank eventually grants the teleco-giant license. Another operator, 9mobile has just welcomed a new investor Teleology Holdings after a long wait and has promised to return it back to the path of profitability.
Figures from NCC shows that there are over 164 million GSM subscribers in the country while MTN continues to lead the market with a 40% market share, followed by Globacom and Airtel with 25% while debt-laden commands a meagre 10% market share.