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MTN Acquires Visafone in Landmark Industry Deal

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After several months of negotiations, MTN, Africa’s leading mobile phone operator, has finally sealed the deal to acquire Visafone, the only surviving Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator in Nigeria. This marks the final death of CDMA operations in Africa’s largest economy.

An industry source confirmed that the transaction had been concluded, but could not divulge how much MTN paid to acquire Visafone. It’s certainly a multi-million naira deal because Visafone was the largest CDMA operator in the country.

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The acquisition is expected to ensure high quality data services and improve mobile broadband experience for the booming internet population in Nigeria. The merger is also expected to provide the much-needed relief to enhance quality internet economy for subscribers of Visafone and MTN.

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 data users today are limited to narrow band internet at 2G/3G speed which is estimated that LTE users will constitute 80 per cent of all data users by 2019.

Based on the national broadband plan of the federal government, the industry source explained that the aggressive launch of 4G LTE services by the merged entity of MTN and Visafone is also expected to drive the broadband penetration in the country from under 10 per cent to the targeted 30 per cent by 2018, and help meet the national broadband plan targets.

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The market consolidation with the acquisition of Visafone by MTN is the first of its kind in the telecommunication industry in Nigeria and it has been given thumbs up in the larger interest of the country and the economy.

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