‘MTN’s posting of Visafone customers to GSM platform temporary’
Migration of 2.1 million Visafone subscribers to MTN Nigeria’s GSM platform may be temporary after all, according to an official of the company.
The official, who preferred anonymity, told The Guardian that the move is a temporary one, as MTN plan at the point of acquisition was to resuscitate the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) sub-sector of the country and improve the country’s broadband services through 4G-LTE technology.
According to him, the temporary move is to enable the South African-owned telecommunications firm make use of the spectrum owned by Visafone to prepare the ground for 4G-service roll-out, which was part of the mandate handed the Jim Ovia founded telecommunications firm by the regulator.
He stated that the Visafone spectrum, which MTN planned to use to roll-out 4G LTE, was discovered to be too high for CDMA operations and discovered to be interfering with spectrums of a major but new entrant into the Internet Service Providers (ISP) circle in the country.
He said Visafone was told to roll-out LTE services in six cities across the geo-political landscape of Nigeria by January this year.
According to him, in the short-term, MTN needed to relocate the existing customers that were found to be on the spectrum on another platform so that they can fulfill the mandate in the requirements to vacate the spectrum.
“That is the reason behind the planned movement. It is temporary”, he stated.
He said that the Visafone customers would be migrated within the next two months, adding that from this week, subscribers would be contacted on how the processes would go.
According to him, already, about 140 Visafone workers are working with the MTN team to ensure a hitch-free exercise, adding that the telecommunications firm would fulfill all regulatory requirements as per Visafone licence when acquired.
He said: “When we took over Visafone in January, we discovered that a particular spectrum they had, which was planned for the roll-out of 4G-LTE service, was interfering with a particular ISP’s spectrum and so they were told to vacate that space. We discovered that we needed to move the existing subscribers on that spectrum to another platform so that they don’t suffer. The plan is to move them to the GSM platform temporarily. And while they are there, they will still enjoy the tariff and other packages they had on Visafone.
“Visafone still remains an entity in the sense that even when the customers move platform, we retain their identity which is their current phone numbers and the products and services which have been approved for Visafone.”
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