Etisalat awarded USD650m loan for network expansion; MTN to invest USD1bn this year

11 Mar 2011

Etisalat Nigeria, a subsidiary of UAE-based telecoms operator Etisalat, has secured a seven-year USD650 million syndicated loan to drive its network expansion and modernisation over the next three years. Daily Trust reports that the loan is from a consortium of eight local banks, namely: First Bank, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, United Bank for Africa, Bank PHB, Guaranty Trust Bank and Oceanic Bank. Etisalat Nigeria’s CEO, Steve Evans, said the loan would be drawn in two tranches: the first tranche of USD550 million would be drawn in Nigerian naira, while the second tranche of USD100 million would be drawn in US dollars. ‘We are delighted to have this facility and the additional funds will be used to roll out both our 3G and 2G network on a national basis, bringing our world-class service to every part of the country,’ Evans commented, adding: ‘We are committed to continuing to be the fastest growing most innovative mobile operator in the market and believe that our focus on providing the highest level of customer service and quality of service is what Nigerian consumers have been asking for and deserve.’

In a separate report, local newspaper This Day writes that MTN Nigeria plans to spend USD1 billion on expanding its network this year. The company’s corporate executive, Akinwale Goodluck, said the money will be spent on increasing its fibre-optic capacity, acquiring base stations and improving service quality.