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CDMA merger on the cards for Nigeria

Three Nigerian CDMA operators have requested that the country’s regulator grant them permission to merge. The three firms – MTS, Multilinks and Starcomms – are largely inactive, and a merger has been under consideration for a considerable time as a means of competing against the more dominant GSM operators.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) confirmed: "We are looking at them coming together and becoming a bigger CDMA provider", but added that "discussions are on-going and are not concluded yet.”

The three CDMA players are reportedly looking to set up a joint venture which they would back with around US$200 million. The entity, provisionally known as Capcom, would have access to all three companies’ LTE-ready spectrum, amounting to around 20MHz.

The only serious competitor in Nigeria’s CDMA market is Visafone, which had around 2.5 million customers at the end of the first half of 2012. Although it is reportedly the only operator actively offering CDMA services, it has no current connection to the proposed merger.

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