9Mobile: NCC says bid winner must show technical capacity before getting license

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9mobile preferred bidder Teleology, will have another huddle to cross after completing payment of the telecommunications company in 90 days. This is because the regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC is insisting that payment of the $500 million was not a guarantee to get the 9mobile operating license but proof of adequate technical capacity to continue operating the 4th mobile telcom in the manner users would not feel short-changed. Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta,, while briefing newsmen in Lagos, said that the bid winner can only count itself authentic owners of 9mobile, after NCC has conducted thorough technical evaluation and ascertain that it has the capacity to operate the license.

Although Danbatta did not want to pre-empt what would happen to the money paid by Teleology, in the event it was considered technically unfit to operate 9mobile, he however, insisted that the technical evaluation function of the NCC on the bid process must be carried out.

According to him, “there are two components of 9mobile sale; the financial evaluation and technical evaluation. The CBN is driving the financial evaluation while we are responsible for the technical evaluation. After the first evaluation, a preferred bidder has emerged and I must say before the preferred bidder emerged, it involved the full participation of representatives of Nigerian Communication Commission. After the CBN is done with its important work of establishing the preferred bidder, the NCC will then come in to ascertain the technical capacity of the preferred bidder.

The licence, operations and spectrum in possessions of 9mobile can only be transferred to the preferred bidder with reports of NCC board on satisfaction that the preferred bidder has the technical capacity. “That process has not taken place and NCC insists on doing the technical evaluation on whoever emerges the preferred bidder” he added. Teleology, beat the March 22, 2018 deadline to pay initial $50million bid money for the acquisition of 9mobile and promised to finalise payment in 90 days.

The payment, gave rise to the signing of the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) and other contractual documents pertaining to the acquisition. Teleology says the payment underscores its financial capability and readiness to revive the organisation. The new owners have already unveiled ambitious action plans to overhaul the network and all other aspects of the telco’s operations. The plan included ringing Nigeria round with 4G broadband access beginning with the 774 local governments in the country. The company is also reinforcing 9mobile workforce with at least 50 percent addition to ensure the overhaul plans are not undermined by shortage of manpower.

Teleology’s Managing Director, Mr Adrian Wood, immediately after the payment, said that “9mobile is transiting into a new phase that will be defined by optimal value delivery to employees, customers and to local communities” He added that Teleology has set out a 10-point plan that aggregates its mission and how it intends to turn the 9mobile organisation around.

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

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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