Market leader MTN Group could acquire CDMA operator Visafone “very soon” to strengthen its hold on Nigeria’s mobile market, Reuters has reported.
However, details about price and size of stake remain sparse for the moment.
Visafone was formed in 2008 after the acquisition of three CDMA mobile network operators by business tycoon Jim Ovia that had been in operation for up to eight years with 30,000 connections.
MTN is Nigeria’s largest operator, with 43 per cent of market share and 61.2 million connections at the end of last year, according to GSMA Intelligence. Visafone stands as number five with 2.17 million connections and 1.56 per cent of market share. However it is a distant fifth behind four bigger rivals.
Nigeria is an important market for MTN – its represents around 27 per cent of its total connections.
Visafone offers fixed wireless services, in addition to its mobile offering. CDMA operators face stiff competition in Nigeria from bigger operators such as Bharti Airtel and Etisalat as well as MTN.
MTN is also reportedly mulling the possibility of taking a majority stake in Telkom – south Africa’s largest landline provider – in a bid to challenge the dominance of Vodacom, a Vodafone Group subsidiary.