MTN Nigeria has dismissed fears expressed by MNOs (mobile network operators) Airtel and 9mobile over what they term as ‘unfair’ market dominance by MTN in the data segment of the country’s telecoms industry.
This comes after Tuesdays public hearing on MTN Nigeria’s acquisition of Visafone Communications and the transfer of the 800MHz license.
Airtel and 9mobile argued that competition in the data market segment would substantially lessen with the transferring of the 800MHz license from Visafone to MTN which would give MTN an undue advantage to further dominate the market.
Regulatory Body Response
Johnson Oyewo, MTN Nigeria’s Senior Manager, Regulatory Affairs, countered that a number of regulatory initiatives such as Spectrum Refarming, Passive Infrastructure Sharing and Spectrum Trading among others have been introduced by the NCC.
“These initiatives which promote market efficiencies should be leveraged by all market players to their advantage. The newly introduced Spectrum Trading Guidelines further strengthens healthy competition as every market player can freely engage in spectrum trading which is readily available in the secondary market with some market players who are underutilising same,” he said.
“Nigeria’s broadband penetration is presently at 21/22 per cent. We are committed to the national broadband penetration which was why we bought the 2.6 GHz spectrum band and MTN was the only bidder then.” He added.
Mr. Oyewo continued; “We are working hard to expand our networks across Nigeria and the 800MHz gives an advantage of wider coverage using fewer resources. The ultimate beneficiaries are the Nigerian government, and every Nigerian who will benefit from the pervasive roll-out of broadband services and success of the rural telephony project.”
MTN’s continuous infrastructural roll-out according to Oyewo, emphasizes the company’s unwavering commitment to Nigeria in the long run, and as such other operators too should demonstrate the same commitment.
MTN Looks Ahead
As the timeline for achieving the broadband target of 30 percent draws nearer MTN’s acquisition of Visafone appears to be a step in realising the target.
MTN concluded that, the NCC should take a fair decision in allowing the transfer of Visafone’s 800MHz licence in the interest of the consumer and the Nigerian economy.