Teleology finalises takeover of 9mobile

The Nigerian telecom sector is set to witness a new era of innovation and vibrancy as Teleology puts finishing touches to its acquisition of 9mobile, Nigeria’s 4th telecom services provider.

In the last few days, key executives of the organization have been deep in meetings with the Nigerian bank syndicate, the regulatory authorities and advisors. These meetings have culminated in the signing of the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) and other contractual documents pertaining to the acquisition.

Ahead of the 22 March deadline set by the Financial Advisers, Teleology has also transferred a non-refundable completion deposit of US$50 million to the Trustee for the bank syndicate presently holding ownership of 9Mobile. This payment underscores Teleology’s financial capability and readiness to revive the organization.

Equally important, Teleology has detailed an ambitious plan of action that will guide its rapid overhaul not only of the network but all aspects of the operations.

According to Adrian Wood, Teleology’s Director and pioneer Managing Director of MTN Nigeria, “9mobile is transiting into a new phase that will be defined by optimal value delivery:  value to our employees, value to our customers, value to local communities and indeed to all stakeholders.”

He added that the new organization to emerge would be “engineering led and brand driven.”  In delivering service, “we will strive to ensure that 9Mobile operations deliver fulfillment to our customers, empowerment to local communities, protection to the vulnerable, and excellent rewards not only to our shareholders but to all stakeholders.

Mr. Wood added that Teleology has set out a 10-point plan that aggregates its mission and how it intends to turn the 9mobile organization around.

It plans to double the 9Mobile network with new 3G/4G specific cell sites as well as a several thousands of kilometers of fiber optic cable across the country. It will drive a special program of rural internet coverage, focusing on 4G with broadband access planned for all of Nigeria’s 774 Local Government Areas.

Youth engagement and employment programs are also planned with all build contractors, distributors and consultants, he said, while investment in broadband internet access technologies which are completely new to Nigeria, are also planned.  Very importantly, he added, the 9Mobile network will be optimized for high speed and high capacity data including imaging, video, games, music, IPTV and more.

“Any 3-point plan or 3-dimension idea is naïve and completely missing the scope and complexity of the urgent Nigerian need to be brought into the 21stcentury broadband era”.

Teleology, he added, envisages an increase of 50% in direct employment in the new 9Mobile.  There is also an active plan to introduce within the first year, several million 4G-capable premium quality smartphones, at exceedingly affordable pricing.

“Nigerians should look forward to a new regime of intensely exciting and innovative brand loyalty rewards programs, from the new 9Mobile,” he said.

He disclosed that Teleology had entered into an alliance with Safaricom, the largest network operator in East Africa.  Safaricom is famous for its global “mpesa” mobile financial services system, which advances financial inclusion and supports the network with the highest operating efficiencies in Africa.

Coming at a period when competition in the Nigerian telecom industry has for some years been limited to price wars between the various GSM companies, clearly, Teleology’s coming will very likely herald a new era of intense competition and quest for market share among Nigeria’s telecom operators.

Teleology is promoted by a group of 12 telecom industry veterans with considerable experience not only in Nigeria and Africa but in the global telecom space as well.  The executive management for instance, boasts more than 337+ years of collective frontline operational management experience.

Mr. Wood used the opportunity to express thanks to Barclays Africa, the Financial Advisers to the transaction, the Nigerian bank syndicate, the fulsome backing and support of the NCC and CBN which made 9Mobile’s survival possible, and the loyal 9Mobile management and staff who carried on in the face of skepticism, doubt and negative market sentiment.

Mr. Wood assured that additional details including formal relaunch plans would be unveiled in due course.

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