Intercontinental Bank and two other banks are rumoured to be in the throes of launching new mobile networks, according to the Business Day newspaper. Intercontinental is said to be working on a plan to relaunch failed cellco Mobitel, which went into receivership in September 2005 after company allegedly failed to repay a loan worth NGN1.6 billion (USD13.8 million based on current exchange rates). The bank plans to launch on the back of the licence owned by Mobitel but to provide services under a new name.
Meanwhile, in a separate but related development, a second – as yet unnamed – bank is believed to have acquired private operator Prest Cable and Satellite TV Systems (Prestel). Prestel currently operates a CDMA2000 1x network covering eleven of the country’s 36 states of the federation. It also has a licence for commercial VSAT installation to provide broadband services and data communication for government sectors, private organisations, banking and financial institutions. Business Day states that Prestel strengthened its position in the Nigerian telecommunications market when it obtained a unified access service (UAS) licence for NGN260 million in July 2006.
Finally, a third – also unnamed – Nigerian bank is said to be working with a large international telco and some local partners with a view to establishing a new network. The newspaper says that the proposed company will roll out CDMA infrastructure.