By Oluwatobi Opusunju and Chinedu James
These are awry times for Nigeria’s fourth largest telecoms firm, 9Mobile. The troubled telco seeking for buyers is losing subscribers in the millions. 9Mobile has lost about four million subscribers in the last couple of months to unconfirmed speculations making the rounds about its sale to some preferred bidders, IT Edge News has learnt.
The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Mr. Sunday Akin who revealed this said the sales process is still ongoing and speculations will not do the already troubled brand any good.
According to him, the unconfirmed report being peddled in the media in the course of the sale has had a negative downturn on the company’s subscriber base from 21 million subscribers to 17 million subscribers.
“The interim board members of 9mobile are yet to communicate to the NCC and that’s because the process is ongoing. Remember also, there are two regulators involved, there is a financial regulator and a telecom regulator and unless the financial process is completed, the licensing process wouldn’t kick in”
“Until we have evidence of the final report, the speculations will not do the brand any good as well as the subscribers. Because of this negativity and unconfirmed report, the company went from 21million subscribers to 17million, so we just need to wait and be patient,” he said.
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Dare also noted that since the sales process began, the two regulators, NCC and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) involved in overseeing the smooth transmission of the company have saved about 4000 jobs as well as saved the company from sinking.
9Mobile is haunted by court cases. The initial plans to conclude the sales of the troubled company on the 16th of January, 2018 was halted after Spectrum Wireless Communication Ltd, which invested about $35 million in Etisalat, now 9Mobile filed an application at the High Court, Ikoyi stating that the Ex-parte order granting the appointment of the Interim Board of 9mobile was obtained by misrepresentation of facts that isolated its stake in the company and demanded for a return on its investment before the sale of 9Mobile can be concluded.
The Court, granting the application terminated the Ex-parte order and nullified the appointment of Dr Joseph Nnana of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr, Boye Olusanya ,Mrs Funke Ighodaro, Mr Seyi Bickersthet and Mr Ken Igbokwe as Security Trustees Nominee Directors on the board of EMTS Ltd/ 9Mobile.
However, Dare said “although there’s a litigation going on at the moment, the parties involved are already in the process of coming to a logical conclusion soon.”
He further disclosed that the sales would be completed in the next 30 to 40 days and the preferred bidder will be announced.
The acquisition process is being facilitated by Barclays Africa, a South African firm, which was appointed in July as the Financial Advisor for the sale of 9Mobile. Reports has it that, there are only two companies in the final round of the takeover bid. The companies are Teleology Holdings Limited and Smile Communications.