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NCC: We Are Yet to Transfer Visafone Licence to MTN

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The Nigerian Communications Commission on Tuesday said that no decision had been taken yet to transfer Visafone Communications Limited’s licence to MTN Nigeria.

It stressed that what had been approved in the transaction of MTN’s acquisition of Visafone was its shareholding, and not the licence.

The Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, said this in a statement made available to our correspondents.

He said, “A decision to transfer Visafone is licence to MTN has not yet been taken.  What has been approved in the transaction is 100 per cent shareholding, not the licence.

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

“This is contrary to the speculation that the NCC, the regulatory agency for telecommunications, has foreclosed the release of the spectrum held by Visafone to MTN.”

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Ojobo added, “This clarification has become necessary in order to allay the fears in some quarters that the frequency has been withheld by the commission.

“Specifically, Visafone Communications Limited with a Universal Access Service Licence deploying Code Division Multiple Access 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 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 the fulfilment of conditions to transfer 100 per cent of its shares to MTN Nigeria.”

He said that Visafone had thereafter applied for the approval to transfer its licence to MTN, adding that the NCC had written to Visafone, clearly stating that a decision had yet to be taken on the transfer of the licence.


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