MTN Buys Nigeria Broadband Spectrum to Boost Internet Services

MTN Group Ltd. agreed to pay almost 19 billion naira ($67 million) for spectrum in Nigeria, enabling Africa’s largest wireless operator to deliver high-speed internet services in its biggest market after settling a record regulatory fine.

The deal will enable Johannesburg-based MTN to deliver mobile broadband and 4G services to more than 60 million customers in Nigeria, the company said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday. It also paid a 30 billion naira installment toward the 330 billion naira penalty, bringing the total paid so far to 80 billion naira.

The shares extended gains in Johannesburg trading, climbing 3 percent to 143.22 rand as of 2:17 p.m. local time. That values the mobile operator at 264 billion rand ($17.6 billion).

MTN said earlier this month it plans to substantially increase capital spending in Nigeria after agreeing to settle the fine following eight months of negotiations. Nigerian authorities imposed the penalty over the company’s failure to meet a deadline to disconnect unregistered users. MTN has committed to extend 3G coverage to 90 percent of Nigeria in 2017 and start a fiber-network roll out in six cities in the country.

MTN was the only bidder for the spectrum.

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