Visafone Communications, a subsidiary of mobile market leader MTN Nigeria, has begun trialling a 4G LTE service for smartphone users, with a view to strengthening its position in the West African nation’s mobile data sector. Premium Times reports that the test network operates in the 800MHz frequency band, although MTN Nigeria will also roll out a 2600MHz 4G service using the frequencies it was awarded by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in June. ‘We are pleased to set the pace once again as we break new boundaries with this test run, which will be available for now for our Visafone customers, who are provisioned on the 800MHz band,’ commented MTN Nigeria’s General Manager of Consumer Marketing, Richard Iweanoge, adding: ‘When we roll out fully, especially with our 2600MHz spectrum, the launch will help to enhance customer experience for our over 60 million subscribers, while ensuring greater coverage, access, affordability and ultimately a smart lifestyle for everyone.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, on 31 December 2015 MTN finalised the acquisition of Lagos-based CDMA network operator Visafone Communications, which owns spectrum in the 800MHz band, for a cash consideration of ZAR3.43 billion (USD249 million). Soon after, South Africa-based MTN began migrating Visafone’s roughly 2.1 million subscribers onto its own GSM network, with a view to using the 800MHz spectrum for rolling out LTE in selected cities by the end of 2016.