South Africa’s MTN Group has arranged a USD2 billion loan to fund the network expansion of subsidiary MTN Nigeria. According to a company statement the five-year loan, from Standard Bank, is one of the largest telecoms deals in Africa. The money will be used to expand GSM coverage and build a fibre-optic transmission network which MTN says will ‘span the length and breadth of the country’. The group has already invested USD3.1 billion in building its Nigerian infrastructure, with claimed coverage of 99.7 million people and more than 561,000 square kilometres. MTN Group CEO Phuthuma Nhleko says the network will give MTN Nigeria a competitive advantage and ensure it meets the increasing demand for its services. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, the cellco had over 14 million subscribers by mid-2007, making it the market leader with a 44% share.