Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has made known that regulatory intervention from NCC and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) successfully managed 9mobile’s crisis.
According to Danbatta, the intervention helped in saving several billions of dollars of investors’ money in Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services (EMTS), trading as 9mobile, preserving over 3,000 direct jobs and putting the telecom company on the path of recovery.
The interventions, which averted a possible collapse of 9mobile, as the 4th largest telecom operator in the country, as result of a debt burden to a consortium of 13 banks, also saved over 16 million subscribers on the network from being cut off.
Danbatta said, “The interventions became necessary in order to address the decreasing subscriber base on 9Mobile, save the country from image problem, instill investor’s confidence in the telecoms market and prevent loss of jobs among Nigerians.”
How 9mobile’s crisis began
9Mobile (formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria) defaulted on a $1.2 billion loan it had obtained from a consortium of banks led by GTBank. The default led to its parent company, Etisalat of the UAE pulling out and the banks threatening to take over the firm.
They were, however, prevented from doing so by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). An interim board was subsequently appointed, and Barclays Africa midwifed a bidding process. Some parties to the process had alleged there were irregularities, a fact that was stoutly denied.
Teleology emerged the preferred bidder and took over the firm in November 2018.
Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited (EMTS) – also known as 9mobile – is a Nigerian private limited liability company. EMTS acquired a Unified Access Service License from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2007. The License enables EMTS to provide Fixed Telephony (wired or wireless), Digital Mobile Services, International Gateway Services and National/Regional Long Distance Services in addition to spectrum assignments in the 900 and 1800 MHz bands.
With a recent name change and rebranding in July 2017, the company launched its new brand identity – 9mobile, with an unveiling of the new name and logo. The new brand identity, according to the telco, reflects the bold and creative attributes which we share with our valued subscribers especially the vibrant youth segment.