Skip to content

Interswitch to enter the telecom sector as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator

Interswitch, the Visa-backed Nigerian payments company, will enter Nigeria's telecommunications sector after acquiring a Tier 5 MVNO

The Visa-backed Nigerian payments company Interswitch will enter Nigeria’s telecommunications sector after acquiring a Tier 5 MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) license. Interswitch acquired the Tier 5 MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) licence for ₦500 million ($1.08 million) from the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) in May 2023.

Interswitch’s Tier 5 (unified virtual operator) license allows it to negotiate with one of Nigeria’s four telcos and provide asset-light telecom services in underserved areas, including 4G and 5G.

With this license acquisition, the payment company hopes to leverage the infrastructure of Nigeria’s major telecommunications companies to offer affordable 4G or 5G services, particularly in underserved regions where gaps exist.

In 2023, the telecom regulator began granting licences to MVNOs to bridge the gap between unserved and underserved areas and populations. MVNOs are wireless communication service providers that resell mobile network services bought wholesale from Mobile Network Operators (MNO), such as 9mobile, Airtel, MTN, and Glo, for discounted amounts to end users and customers.