Nigerian cellco MTN is gearing for a 4G network in selected cities by July 2016, following the acquisition of LTE-suitable frequencies in the 800MHz band earlier this year via the takeover of CDMA network operator Visafone Communications, the Leadership writes.
MTN Nigeria’s CEO Ferdinand Moolman disclosed that MTN has started the process of migrating all of Visafone subscribers onto its network so that it could vacate the 800MHz frequency band and start rolling out LTE.
Hesaid: ‘It delayed our capital expenditure rollout during the first quarter a little bit because we needed to realign some of our CAPEX towards the LTE rollout. We started the migration of the subscribers and we hope to conclude that soon. The plans are to have commercial LTE available towards the end of the second quarter, maybe early Q3 2016, albeit very limited, and then start expanding this towards … the first quarter of next year.’ MTN is aiming to have roughly 1,500 LTE collocated sites backhauled with fibre-optics by year-end. Meanwhile, MTN Group’s Chief Operating Officer Jyoti Desai said that the company undertook a detailed analysis of MTN Nigeria’s data usage in order to determine the most suitable locations for 4G rollouts.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in January 2016 MTN finalised the purchase of Lagos-based Visafone, reportedly paying NGN47.5 billion to obtain its assets.