By Gilbert Alasa.
Nigeria’s leading telecommunication company MTN Nigeria says it has received court summons following a lawsuit filed against the company by its competitor, Etisalat Nigeria.
MTN executive, Amina Oyagbola, was quoted as saying, “Etisalat has filed a lawsuit against MTN and Visafone, and we have filed appropriate processes before the court for necessary determination. The acquisition of Visafone was concluded after obtaining all necessary statutory and regulatory approvals. I am not able to comment further as the matter is sub-judice.”
Etisalat Nigeria is challenging MTN Nigeria for attempting to dominate the telecoms sector in the country with its recent acquisition of Visafone.
In a law suit filed against MTN Nigeria, Etisalat said MTN has already been declared the leading telecoms firm by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) since 2013, adding that its Visafone acquisition would further extend its market leadership.
“You will recall that MTN Nigeria was declared dominant by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2013 and remains dominant in the wholesale leased line and retail voice markets,” it stated.
“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.”
Before the acquisition, MTN only operated 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands, which is also being operated by Etisalat and Airtel who are also using the GSM technology.
According to Reuters, Etisalat said it was in contact with the NCC to understand the logic of its decision to approve the MTN deal despite declaring the South African firm a dominant player in Nigeria’s wholesale and retail voice markets in 2013. Etisalat currently boasts of a customer base of over 21 million, while MTN has about 60 million users in Nigeria.