MTN Acquired Visafone to Extend 4G LTE Services in Nigeria

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Ferdi Moolman

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MTN Nigeria will soon extend 4G LTE services in the country with the acquisition of the Visafone, a Code Division Multiple Access, CDMA operator

| By Anayo Ezugwu | Feb 1, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT |

MTN Nigeria through the acquisition of Visafone, a Code Division Multiple Access, CDMA, operator, will soon roll out fourth generation long term evolution, 4G LTE service in the country. According to Ferdi Moolman, chief executive officer, MTN Nigeria, although the 4G LTE technology is evolving globally and entirely new to telecommunications operations in Nigeria, Nigerians would experience faster mobile broadband penetration in the country through the frequency it acquired from Visafone.

Moolman, who spoke at a media press briefing on Monday, January 18, in Lagos, said, “We acquired Visafone to extend broadband services, as well as the 4G LTE services in Nigeria. Visafone has the frequency that allows us to do so, and we will use the opportunity to deepen mobile broadband internet penetration in the country. The Visafone acquisition was therefore very important for MTN.”

MTN would rollout 4G LTE technology on the Visafone network, even though the technology is different from the GSM technology, which MTN operates. “So we need different computer boxes to run LTE and GSM technologies because they are completely different technologies, even though some of the back-ends still use the same infrastructure like using fibre to move data on both technologies, and also using the same backend transmission process.

“We have a rollout plan for Visafone. We have raised a new team for Visafone operations because we want to ensure that all Visafone subscribers still receive quality services. We want to ensure that the subscribers do not experience drop calls. We have promised to offer them much better services than they were being offered before now,” he said.

Also, Moolman explained that the new team for Visafone operations was tasked to first stabilise the network and rollout 4G LTE network for all Visafone subscribers to enable them experience better service quality than before. He, however, clarified that some staff of Visafone were being re-engaged by MTN in order to maximise the use of key assets.

He quoted Jim Ovia, former chairman, Visafone, as saying that Visafone remains open for business and will be leveraged to expand MTN’s roll out of its LTE broadband services. This will ensure the continuity of the Visafone trademark broadband, enterprise solutions and voice services to its customer base.

According to Ovia, the acquisition of Visafone by MTN is clearly a very healthy development that will further accelerate the growth of information and communications technology, ICT, in Nigeria. “The advent of mobile telecommunication services into the country over a decade ago has impacted Nigeria positively and created a new industry powered by technology and innovation.

“Looking back, we have recorded progress and achievements that have positively impacted the growth of other sectors such as banking, e-commerce and entertainment. We recognise that the industry holds greater potential that can further catalyse Nigeria’s economic growth generally,” Ovia said.

With regard to manpower development, Ovia explained in the statement that contrary to media reports, MTN did not sack any staff. However, out of the total 350 professional staff that Visafone had prior to the acquisition, some voluntarily resigned and were adequately compensated.

MTN Nigeria on January 7, announced the acquisition of Visafone. Under the plan, over two million existing Visafone subscribers will be migrated onto the MTN Nigeria network, a development that will now enable them use their voice and data services, anywhere MTN has network coverage. MTN launched 4GLTE in South Africa in 2013 and since them has been looking at how it could launch the technology in Nigeria.

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