Visafone Communications wants to increase its market share and
play a “more dominat role” in Nigeria’s cashless society

The broadband provider said it wants to grow its footprint on
the back of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s mobile money initiative
as well as in the mobile broadband where it has comparative
advantage, Jim Ovia, the company chairman, told local media.

Without citing numbers or going deep into other strategic
details, Ovia said the company will invest billions of naira to
expand its voice and data network until 2015.

He said that one of Visafone’s strategy key points is to rank
among the three largest operators in Nigeria includes the
popularisation of handsets.

“We are also set to introduce new and exciting devices through
our network, including tablets and affordable smart phones,”
promised Visafone’s chairman.

“Exciting times are ahead of us with Mobile Money, Cashless
Nigeria and Convergence slated to encompass our lives,” said

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Visafone’s expansion plans also counts on the investments in
infrastructure made in the country.

With over 90m mobile phone subscribers, Nigeria is the biggest
country in the African mobile market, but mobile handset
penetration is around 60%, according to a recent report by the
telecommunications consultancy company BuddeComm.

Broadband penetration in Nigeria is expected to jump from the
current 5% to 40% of the country’s population by 2015, said
Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, the managing director and CEO for Nigerian
Communications Satellite at the beginning of April.

Ovia estimated that, by 2015, the country will have 70m internet
users and the country “will be using wireless broadband services
worth NGN600bn ($3,73bn).”

“As our future growth strategy, we will also be deploying the
Long Term Evolution (LTE) Technology as soon as the infrastructure
and other resources are available to keep us at par with the global
competitive environment”, said Ovia.

Although there is space for growth, the telcos have real
challenges in Nigeria. “Much of the remaining addressable market is
in the country is in rural areas where network roll-outs and
operations are expensive,” according to a BuddeComm report on
Nigeria published early this year.

The report read:

“This, in combination with declining average revenue per user
levels, is forcing the networks to streamline their operations and
to develop new revenue streams from services such as third
generation (3G) mobile broadband, mobile payments/banking, and

“At the same time the operators are rolling out national fibre
backbone networks to support the ever increasing demand for
bandwidth. At least two operators are rolling out fourth generation
(4G) LTE networks.”