By Tunde Osho
Barely 24 hours after meeting Thursday’s deadline set by the financial adviser handling the sale of 9mobile for the payment of the $50 million non-refundable cash deposit for the Nigeria’s fourth largest telecoms operator, Teleology Holdings, the preferred bidder for the deal, has outlined its 10-point agenda for 9mobile.
According to Teleology, it plans to implement the agenda by the time it takes full ownership, after it must have completed payment of the balance of $500 million bid price for 9mobile, which it has been given another 90 days to meet.
Having partnered Safaricom, the biggest telecoms operator in East Africa to transform 9mobile, Teleology said the emerging telecoms company would be engineering-led, to enable it compete favourably with existing telecoms companies in Nigeria, that must have gained more market shares during the 9mobile financial crisis.
Teleology, in a statement 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 its Director and former Managing Director of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Adrian Wood, “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 organisation to emerge would be “engineering led and brand driven, ” adding that 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.”
Wood added that Teleology has set out a 10-point plan that aggregates its mission and how it intends to turn the 9mobile organisation around.
Part of the plan is 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. Wood said the 9mobile network would be optimised for high speed and high capacity data including imaging, video, games, music, IPTV and more.
“Any three-point plan or three-dimension idea is naïve and completely missing the scope and complexity of the urgent Nigerian need to be brought into the 21st century broadband era,” Wood said.
Teleology, he added, envisages an increase of 50 per cent 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, Wood said.
He however expressed thanks to Barclays Africa, the financial advisers to the 9mobile transaction, the Nigerian bank syndicate, the backing and support of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which he said, made 9mobile’s survival possible. He also expressed his gratitude to the loyal 9mobile management and staff who carried on in the face of skepticism, doubt and negative market sentiment.
Wood assured Nigerians that additional details including formal relaunch plans would be unveiled in due course.