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MTN to Spend More Than $1 Billion to Improve Nigeria Network

MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s largest mobile-phone operator, will spend more than $1 billion this year to improve its network in Nigeria after the nation’s phone regulator last year demanded better service.

“The investment will relieve congestion and improve the quality of the network,” Akinwale Goodluck, a spokesman for MTN Nigeria, said by mobile phone from Lagos today. The funds will be directed toward second- and third-generation technologies, MTN’s core network, and power generators to run transmission stations, he said.

Last year, Nigeria’s National Communications Commission told mobile-phone companies MTN, Globacom Ltd. and Bharti Airtel Ltd.’s Nigerian unit to improve mobile network services or they would be stopped from signing up new customers.

MTN, which operates in 20 other countries in Africa and the Middle East, according to the Johannesburg-based company’s website, spent $1 billion on its Nigerian network in 2011 and its investments will help achieve the commission’s goal, Goodluck said.

MTN Nigeria is the biggest phone operator in Africa’s most populous country. The company had more than 40 million users on its mobile network in June 2011, according to the commission. Globacom ranked second with more than 19 million and Bharti Airtel was third with about 16 million.

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