After months of negotiations, Africa’s largest telecoms operator, MTN, sealed the deal to acquire Visafone, the leading CDMA operator in Nigeria, THISDAY has learnt. According to sources in the telecoms industry, the acquisition is expected to provide MTN the robust voice and data platform of Visafone and cater for the booming internet population in Nigeria.
An industry source, who confirmed that the transaction had been concluded, but could not divulge how much MTN paid to acquire Visafone, said: “It’s certainly a multimillion naira deal because Visafone was the largest CDMA operator in the country. “The acquisition is expected to ensure high quality data services and improve mobile broadband experience for subscribers of Visafone and MTN.
“The merger is also expected to provide the much-needed relief to the booming internet economy by making available quality mobile broadband services adopting the state of the art 4G LTE technologies during the year.”
With about 150 million mobile subscribers and about 97 million internet users, Nigeria ranks among the fastest growing countries in terms of mobile subscribers and data penetration.
However, the vast majority of the 97 million internet users today are limited to narrow band internet at 2G/3G speed. Presently, majority of data users use 2G/3G technologies but it is estimated that LTE users will constitute 80 per cent of all data users by 2019.