MTN Nigeria is said to be in talks with 9mobile to acquire its operating spectrum and the entire company.
Media reports from Nigeria indicate that the spectrum trade deal between Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited and MTN Nigeria is still an ongoing conversation.
A source is quoted as saying, “There are ongoing conversations for the acquisition of their operating spectrum, which is the only one they have. Once we get the spectrum, we have got everything too. There is an ongoing conversation.
“Once we have the spectrum, it is more like we have taken over the company. The spectrum is what they use to operate, once they don’t have it again, they can’t. I can’t confirm how much is being discussed yet.”
Since 9mobile’s technical partner and investors left, the telco has fallen on hard times, losing millions of subscribers in the process.
As of January 2016, 9Mobile (formerly Etisalat Nigeria) had 22.04 million mobile subscriptions, but has declined to 13.79 million as of August 2023.
Meanwhile, the Director of Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communication Commission, Reuben Muoka, is reported as saying the regulator is not yet aware of any ongoing conversations between MTN and 9Mobile.
He said, “We are not aware. It is not for us to confirm. We are the regulator. It is two organisations that are discussing commercial relationships until they tell us. We are not going to confirm whether we are aware or not. We are also reading that they are having discussions. I am sure they know the appropriate thing to do.”
9mobile officials have also refused to confirm or deny the acquisition talks with MTN.
In 2015, MTN completed the acquisition of Visafone. An MTN Executive, Amina Oyagbola, stated that the acquisition was to improve the quality of broadband services for its subscribers.
MTN didn’t get the broadband spectrum related to the acquisition until 2019.