Zambia hints at fifth telco operator

A fifth telco
for Zambia?

Enough room says
industry regulator.

Wednesday, Feb 26th

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Nigerian telcos worry over potential MTN monopoly

Nigerian telco's worry over potential MTN monopoly

Visafone wants to transfer its licence and resources, including its 800MHz band spectrum, to MTN Nigeria - but rival operators fear this will only strengthen MTN's competitive advantage, according to a report from an inquiry organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) aside, Airtel, 9Mobile and Probitas Partners LLP have officially submitted reasons for not backing the transfer.

9Mobile stated that MTN currently holds 38% of the total spectrum assigned to the industry, while other telcos compete for the remaining 62%. It added that MTN's access to the 800MHz spectrum will substantially reduce competition in the industry and increase its spectrum dominance.

Airtel requested the NCC to first implement measures for other telcos to gain access to sub-1GHz spectrum for the alternative deployment of LTE services and to encourage competition before making the transfer.

It also wants the Commission to conduct an assessment on the impact of the proposed transfer to MTN on the industry.

Law firm, Probitas Partners LLP, argued that the proposed transfer will inhibit competition, create monopoly and affect the entire industry - especially as MTN and Visafone are amongst the top five telcos in Nigeria.

NATCOMS wants the transaction approved on the basis that MTN, unlike other telcos, has shown its willingness and capacity to continue investing in the industry. Though it acknowledges that the acquisition could lead to dominance, it adds that there are provisions made through which telcos with "significant market power" could be issued with additional obligations in order to "prevent any manipulation".

MTN maintains that the transfer will neither have any negative impact on other telcos nor adversely impact the growth and development of the market.

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