The two most recent entrants into Nigeria’s telecoms market have each made approaches to Transcorp about the possibility of acquiring part of former incumbent cellco M-Tel. M-Tel is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the recently privatised wireline incumbent NITEL, 75%-owned by Transcorp. UAE-based Mubadala Development Company was awarded a unified access service licence by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in January this year, while Alheri Enginerring was awarded a provisional 3G licence earlier this month having met the necessary criteria and paid a USD15 million deposit. M-Tel was originally awarded a GSM concession in 2001 and at its height at the end of 2005 enjoyed 1.2 million subscribers. However it has been hindered by inadequate capacity, and at the end of 2006 had only 200,000 subscribers, many of which were believed to be inactive.
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