According to reports, the Nigerian Communications Commission says it has approved the transfer of Visafone’s shareholding to MTN Nigeria, and not the licence.
Tony Ojobo, NCC’s Public Affairs Director, said in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday that a decision to transfer Visafone licence to MTN has not been taken.
Ojobo said that this was contrary to the speculation that NCC had foreclosed the release of the spectrum held by Visafone to MTN.
He said that the clarification was to allay the fears in some quarters that the frequency had been withheld by the commission.
Ojobo said that specifically, Visafone, with a Universal Access Service Licence deploying Code Division Multiple Access technology, applied to the NCC for an approval to effect a change in its shareholding structure.
According to him, this is by transferring 100 per cent of its shares to MTN Nigeria.
Ojobo said: “Having met all the preliminary requirements for granting of approval for change in shareholding structure, the NCC in line with its established procedure granted an Approval-In-Principle to Visafone Communications Ltd.
“This is subject to fulfillment of conditions to transfer 100 per cent of its shares to MTN Nigeria.
”What has been approved in the transaction is 100 per cent shareholding not licence.
“The commission has yet to meet to take a decision on the application by Visafone to transfer its licence to MTN.
“NCC final approval to the changes in shareholding of Visafone Communications was taken by virtue of Section 38 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003.’’
Section 38 of the Act states “the grant of a licence shall be personal to the licencee”.
He said: “The licence shall not be operated by, assigned, sub-licenced or transferred to any other party unless the prior written approval of the commission has been granted.”