MTN in $3 billion Nigeria upgrade

Nigeria’s leading telecoms operator MTN plans to invest $3 billion to upgrade its infrastructure in efforts to improve the quality of service.

The company, which has been at loggerheads with industry regulator Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) over quality of services, has already secured financing from a consortium of banks and intends to undertake the upgrade over the next three years.

“We will continue to invest at this rate in the medium term and make sure the overall quality of service in acceptable,” said MTN CEO Sifiso Dabengwa.

MTN, which commands over 50 per cent market share in Africa’s most populous nation with over 52 million subscribers, has been grappling with increasing discontent from clients due to its quality of service.

This prompted NCC to ban MTN’s and two other mobile operators from selling Sim cards for a month in a move to force them to improve the quality of services.

The company has secured a loan facility from a consortium of local and international financial institutions to implement the upgrade. The seven-year loan facility will be used to expand, modernise and improve its network infrastructure.

The consortium of banks included Zenith Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Access Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc.

Other lenders included South Africa’s Nedbank and FirstRand, German state bank KfW, Citigroup, Standard Chartered Plc, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Development Bank and China Construction Bank.

The move by MTN comes when competition in the lucrative market is expected to increase after the NCC allowed users to switch providers without losing their phone numbers.

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