The graveyard of Nigerian CDMA operators is heavily littered. And it keeps growing. Like a bulldog, it lays hold of one operator after another and does not let go until they succumb and are dragged into their deep graves. Intercellular, MTS and ZOOMmobile (former Reltel) are all dead and buried.
Starcomms and Multilinks are in a coma. There was an attempt at a merger between these two and MTS (I didn’t understand how the living could merge with the dead) last year, but the deal fell through. The new entity, CAPCOM, that was to emerge from the merger was a still birth. Between both Starcomms and Multilinks now, it is hard to put 300,000 active subscribers together.
In 2007, three CDMA operators, Independent Telephone Network (ITN), Bourdex Telecoms and Cell Communications Limited (Cellcom) were swallowed up to kickstart Visafone, which today seems to be the only stable CDMA operator left in the country. Visafone is something of a surprise story. The three operators it acquired had a combined subscriber base of just about 30,000. Visafone has grown this to about 2.5m. Still, impressive as the growth is, that figure is far behind the over 15m subscribers of the smallest GSM operator in the country.
Does anyone know if O’net (Odu’a Telecoms Limited) is still breathing? Breathing or not, O’net’s footprint in the telecoms market is so insignificant that it almost does not exist at all.
All that is required now is a doctor to officially certify CDMA dead and buried in Nigeria. GSM has been a brutal conqueror in this land.