In a strategic move indicative of potential industry consolidation, MTN Nigeria is reportedly in advanced negotiations with Emerging Markets Telecommunications Service Limited (EMTS), the company operating as 9mobile in Nigeria, to acquire a significant stake in its spectrum.
The talks, if successful, could mark a crucial step in the revival of 9mobile, which has faced challenges since the departure of its key technical partner and investor, Mubadala of the United Arab Emirates, in 2017.
Sources suggest that the spectrum trade option is being explored as a viable solution to resuscitate 9mobile, considering the critical role spectrum plays as the lifeblood of any telecommunications firm.
While the spokesperson for 9mobile, Chinese Amanfo, has not officially confirmed the development, an inside source from MTN has hinted that the negotiations are indeed underway and progressing seriously.
“The deal is on between the two firms. MTN will start with the spectrum, and you know the implication of that. Spectrum is the life wire of any telecoms firm.
“It is still unfolding, and more developments would be revealed in the coming weeks,” said the anonymous source.
Despite the apparent momentum in the negotiations, a close source to 9mobile has cast doubt on the authenticity of the news circulating in the media.
The source, speaking on anonymity, pointed out perceived inconsistencies in the reporting, stating, “If you read the story very well, you will see that it is disjointed. One place, it talks about spectrum, another MNVO, later Globacom COO.
I believe strongly that if 9mobile wants to sell stakes to MTN, the management would come out clear and straight about it. There is absolute no direction in the story currently making the round in the media.”
As the telecom industry watches closely, the unfolding developments in the coming weeks may shed more light on the potential acquisition and its implications for the Nigerian telecommunications landscape.
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