New mobile operator could emerge from NITEL sale

7 Oct 2009

The director general of Nigeria’s Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Christopher Anayanwu, has said a new wireless operator could emerge from the sale of struggling incumbent telco Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), local newspaper THISDAY reports. According to Anayawu, NITEL currently owns a CDMA network which could fetch up to USD3 billion if auctioned by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). ‘If we unbundle [NITEL] fully as we are trying to do, another mobile network must come out of [the company]…There is a CDMA network that covers the whole country and has its own frequency intact. The licence alone can be sold by NCC and that can yield about USD2 million or USD3 million, but this is a licence with equipment on the ground, so any company can acquire that and run a mobile network,’ he said. The BPE hopes that by introducing a new wireless operator, the market will become more competitive and mobile tariffs will be lowered.

As reported by CommsUpdate on 5 October, the BPE has extended the deadline for the submission of technical and financial bids for NITEL from 2 October to 26 October. Recent reports claims that 14 parties have expressed an interest in NITEL, including Etisalat Nigeria, MTNL of India, Globacom, MTN Nigeria, Telefonica of Spain and MetroPCS Communications.