MTN sued in Nigeria over Visafone purchase

2016-02-08 14:28 - Yinka Ibukun and Loni Prinsloo
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MTN logo. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)


Lagos - Emirates Telecommunications Group is suing Nigeria competitor MTN Group over plans by Africa’s biggest wireless company to buy local Internet provider Visafone Communications.

The lawsuit centres on MTN’s potential use of Visafone’s 800 megahertz of spectrum, Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat’s Nigeria unit said in an e-mailed statement on Monday.

“Not to challenge will entrench the dominance of MTN in the data services market,” the company said.

MTN Nigeria has been served with court papers and the phone company was in court last week about the matter, spokesperson Funso Aina said by text message. Tony Ojobo, a spokesperson for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the regulator that approved the Visafone deal, said the NCC hasn’t received any official correspondence from Etisalat questioning the approval of the MTN acquisition.

In 2013, the NCC said MTN, the biggest mobile-phone company in Nigeria, had become dominant in the mobile-voice market. The South African company is also in talks with the regulator to settle a $3.9bn fine for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers last year.

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