MTN’s acquisition of Visafone healthy for ICT growth, says Ovia

Jim_OviaThe acquisition of Visafone by MTN is clearly a very healthy development that will further accelerate the growth of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in Nigeria.
This was the declaration of founder and retired Chairman of Visafone Communications Limited, Jim Ovia yesterday.
Ovia, in the statement said the business deal would ensure the continuity of the Visafone trademark broadband, enterprise solutions and voice services to its customer base.
According to Ovia, “The advent of mobile telecommunication services into the country over a decade ago has impacted Nigeria positively and created a new industry powered by technology and innovation. Looking back, we have recorded progress and achievements that have positively impacted the growth of other sectors such as banking, e-commerce and entertainment. We recognise that the industry holds greater potential that can further catalyse Nigeria’s economic growth generally,” he stated.
With regard to manpower development, Jim Ovia commented that contrary to media reports, MTN did not sack any staff. However, out of the total 350 professional staff that Visafone had prior to the acquisition, some voluntarily resigned and were adequately compensated.
Speaking further, Ovia said as part of its contribution to improving on Nigeria’s 10 per cent broadband penetration, MTN Nigeria will be leveraging on the acquisition of Visafone in realising this objective.
He added that the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator remains open for business and will be leveraged to expand MTN’s roll out of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) broadband services.
Ovia said he had it on good authority that in a bid to ensure seamless transition of the process and maintain business continuity, some staff of Visafone were being re-engaged by MTN in order to maximise the use of key assets such as network and technology.
Indeed, a good number of Visafone staff are to be retrained so they have the requisite skills for engaging the new 4G LTE technology.
The aggressive launch of 4G LTE services by the merged entity of MTN and Visafone is also expected to drive the broadband penetration in the country to the targeted 30 per cent by 2018 as per the national broadband plan of the Federal Government and help meet the national broadband plan targets.
The 4G LTE technology is particularly good for the country and economy because it will create a conducive platform for enhanced product/service innovation, which will ultimately lead to the creation of even new jobs.
Market watchers have commended the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and have said it be encouraged for supporting this initiative, which is widely applauded as a major telecom industry landmark deal.
MTN is now expected to massively and aggressively leverage the CDMA pedigree of Visafone to roll out premium products that portends very good business opportunity for the carrier and Nigerians.
This is expected to ensure a high quality data services and improve mobile broadband experience for subscribers of Visafone and MTN.
Availability of 4G LTE mobile broadband services on a national scale starting 2016 is expected to act as a catalyst to many sectors of the economy like the booming e-Commerce, banking Insurance and financial services, Software and IT enabled services etc., and is likely to trigger widening of the revenue base of the federal government into non-oil sectors.
The market consolidation by the acquisition of the CDMA operator Visafone by the GSM operator MTN is the first in the history of telecom industry in Nigeria and is commendable in the larger interest of the country and the economy.

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