By Ismaheel Ojo 

Etisalat has instituted a lawsuit against the NCC and MTN over claims that the latter has been receiving preferential treatment from the regulatory agency .

More troubles for MTN as Etisalat sues Over Visafone Acquisition

 By Ismaheel Ojo 

Etisalat has instituted a lawsuit against the NCC and MTN over claims that the latter has been receiving preferential treatment from the regulatory agency .

Etisalat has issued a statement faulting the acquisition of Visafone, a Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator, by MTN Nigeria, a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operator.

According to the statement, the acquisition of Visafone by MTN, would give MTN undue dominance over other GSM operators, especially in MTN’s use of the 800 MHz spectrum in rolling out its broadband services, which initially belonged to Visafone, prior to the acquisition.

On the basis of this argument, Etisalat Nigeria has brought a legal action against MTN Nigeria and Visafone Ltd., challenging MTN’s use of the 800 MHz spectrum following the acquisition of Visafone.

Etisalat wants the NCC to reverse the sale, insisting that NCC gave approval to MTN for the acquisition of Visafone in error. The action was considered necessary to prevent the use of the spectrum by MTN at this time, as it would entrench the dominance of MTN in the retail data services market.

This is because MTN Nigeria was declared dominant by the NCC in 2013 and remains dominant in the wholesale leased line and retail voice markets, Etisalat said in a statement.

According to the statement, “the use of the 800 MHz spectrum to deploy broadband services ahead of its competitors, particularly those who prior to MTN’s purchase of Visafone, held similar spectrum bands as MTN, will further entrench MTN’s dominance in the Nigerian telecommunications sector.

“We have in addition and in line with Section 86 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 engaged the NCC to understand the basis of its decision to approve the acquisition, the statement further said.

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