African wireless operator MTN Nigeria yesterday finalised an agreement with a consortium of Nigerian and international financiers for a USD200 million loan to carry out its GSM network development in the country. The loan comes as part of the company’s ongoing strategy to bring its network up to international standards, and is the third instalment of a three-year borrowing programme which now amounts to over USD750 million.
MTN is Nigeria’s largest GSM operator, with 1.97 million subscribers at the end of June 2004. The cellco, which comes under the umbrella of South Africa’s MTN Group, provides coverage to 93 cities and over 5,000 communities spanning 33 of Nigeria’s 36 states. The GSM rollout has required a high capital expenditure, with operating costs in Nigeria significantly higher than those encountered elsewhere in Africa.