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Visafone Acquisition: MTN May RecallSacked Staff

The sacked workers of Visafone, the largest CDMA operator in Nigeria, by MTN Nigeria may be recalled, THISDAY has learnt.

MTN last Friday finalised the acquisition of Visafone, a process it started early last year. It took possession of the company last Monday but had ordered Visafone to sack all its workers.

According to THISDAY’s investigations, the sack order was one of the conditions that MTN gave Visafone before it could close the deal, which encountered several hurdles before its conclusion.

Although Visafone was not willing to sack any worker, its new owner insisted the workers must be sacked on the grounds that it would use MTN staff to run the CDMA company since it was reluctant to assume all of Visafone’s liabilities.

THISDAY however gathered that MTN has since realised that it cannot rely on its staff to successfully run a CDMA company, which operates a technology different from that of GSM that MTN is already familiar with.

As at yesterday, MTN had started recalling some of the sacked workers for fresh negotiations.
Although all attempts to reach Visafone’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Joseph Ushigiale, were not successful, as his phone lines were switched off. Some of the recalled workers told THISDAY yesterday that they were already discussing with MTN to know whether they would be placed on contract or employed as full time employees of MTN staff.

Confirming the acquisition in a statement it released yesterday, MTN said the acquisition of Visafone was in line with its determination to improve the quality of broadband services for its subscribers.

According to MTN Executive, Amina Oyagbola, the acquisition which seeks to leverage resources for service enhancement, was also reflective of MTN’s concerted efforts to deepen the growth and roll out broadband services across the country in support of the National Broadband Plan for the benefit of Nigerians.

Visafone is one of the leading CDMA/ICT companies in Nigeria, offering a number of services including voice, high speed data (3G), internet and other value added services (VAS). Visafone also provides business solutions to small and medium-sized companies and corporate organisations in Nigeria.

Oyagbola said: “We are committed to exploring avenues to meeting our customers’ increasing data needs in line with our vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our customers.

“As we work to maximise our data capabilities towards achieving broadband of international quality, our objective is to ensure that Nigerians experience a boost in the quality of broadband internet services translating to the much needed enhanced data speeds and value to enhance personal and business productivity.”

Speaking further, she said: “The acquisition of Visafone highlights MTN’s commitment to Nigeria. More capacity will facilitate enhanced product/service offerings and experience in the data space to the delight of our valued customers.

“Voice is still king! However, data is becoming increasingly important in our everyday lives and our energies are focused on enhancing data and internet services to the benefit of our customers and the country at large.”




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