In 2007, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) issued 3G licences to four operators – MTN, Glo, Zain, and little-known Alheri. Since the issuance of the licenses, the other three operators have deployed and now offer 3G-based services to millions of subscribers across the country.
But not Alheri. Till date, the Dangote-owned company has nothing to show by way of deploying 3G services. However, Technology Times reports that Etisalat, the fourth GSM operator, is in talks with Alheri to buy the dormant 3G license.
If this pulls through, Etisalat will join the league of GSM networks offering 3G services, and the playing field become a little more level. Etisalat Nigeria currently deploys EDGE as a platform for delivering near-3G speeds. However, a 3G license will allow the youngest GSM operator to deploy HSDPA (3.5G) and HSUPA, delivering true broadband speeds to its fast-growing subscriber base.