NCC Clears Air On Visafone Acquisition By MTN Nigeria

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it only approved the acquisition of 100 per cent shareholding and transfer of subscribers of Visafone Communications Limited to MTN Nigeria, noting that a decision to transfer the spectrum licence has not been taken.

It said the final approval to the changes in shareholding of Visafone was taken by virtue of section 38 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 which states that “the grant of a licence shall be personal to the licencee and the licence shall not be operated by, assigned, sub-licenced or transferred to any other party unless the prior written approval of the Commission has been granted”.

Mr. Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs at NCC said contrary to the speculation in a section of the media that the NCC had foreclosed the release of the spectrum held by Visafone to MTN, this clarification has become necessary in order to allay the fears in some quarters that the frequency had been withheld by NCC.

Ojobo said clearly “the Commission is yet to meet to take a decision on the application by Visafone to transfer its licence to MTN.  The NCC has only approved the shareholding structure by 100 per cent and not transfer of licence”.

Specifically, Visafone Communications Limited with a Universal Access Service Licence (UASL) – deploying Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology applied to the NCC for an approval to effect a change in its shareholding structure by transferring 100 per cent of its shares to MTN Nigeria.

Having met all the preliminary requirements for grant of approval for change in shareholding structure, the NCC in line with its established procedure granted an Approval-In-Principle to Visafone Communications Limited, subject to fulfilment of conditions to transfer 100 per cent of its shares to MTN Nigeria.

Ojobo said having fulfilled the conditions stipulated in the “Approval-In-Principle”, the NCC, in line with its procedure granted a “Final-Approval” to Visafone for the change in its shareholding structure. Thereafter, Visafone applied for approval to transfer its licence to MTN.

He also said the NCC has written to Visafone, clearly stating that a decision was yet to be taken on the transfer of Visafone licence to MTN, he said. LEADERSHIP had on April 27, 2016 exclusively reported that MTN paid Visafone $238,498,957 for the transfer of 100 per cent equity in that CDMA operator’s business.


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