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Etisalat sues MTN over Visafone acquisition

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

Etisalat said the court action is considered necessary to prevent the use of the spectrum by MTN at this time, as it will entrench the dominance of MTN in the retail data services market.

It noted that MTN Nigeria had been declared dominant by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2013 and remains dominant in the wholesale leased line and retail voice markets.

“The use of the 800MHz spectrum to deploy broadband services ahead of its competitors, particularly those who, prior to MTNs purchase of Visafone, held similar spectrum bands as MTN, will further entrench MTN’s dominance in the Nigerian telecommunications sector,” Etisalat said in a statement confirmed by its Head of Media, Chinese Amanfo, yesterday.

The telco said it had, in addition to the legal action 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. “As you are aware, the matter is already in court as such, we are restrained from commenting further on the matter,” the telco added.

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