‘How regulators saved 9mobile from extinction’

Economy

Business / Economy 22 Views comments

Proactive regulatory interventions initiated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) helped in saving investors’ money in Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services (EMTS), trading as 9mobile. It also preserved over 3,000 direct jobs and put the telco on the path of recovery. The interventions, which averted possible collapse of 9mobile, as the fourth 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. These were the highlights of interactions when the new management and Board of 9mobile led by the telco’s Chairman, Alhaji Nasir Ado Bayero, paid a courtesy visit to  NCC in Abuja at the weekend. NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who received the 9mobile delegation, 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. “By successfully mid-wifing the take-over of 9mobile by new investors, we are happy that the joint regulatory interventions have culminated in the stabilisation of the telecom industry as well as calming frayed nerves in the financial services sector of the economy. One can imagine the consequences to these two important sectors of the economy, if we had not intervened in a timely manner.” While stressing the need for new investors to demonstrate technical competence in managing the operations of the telco, Danbatta urged its management to address its institutional structure by ensuring that core professionals are hired to pilot its activities for the delivery of good quality of service (QoS) to its consumers, whose confidence in the fortune of the telecoms company has been re-ignited. Danbatta specifically urged EMTS management to ensure it runs a process-driven operations that make all its stakeholders happy on a long-term basis in line with the provision of the 2016 Code of Corporate Governance for telecommunications industry, which provisions have become mandatory on all licensees to comply with. Earlier, Alhaji Bayero praised NCC for its laudable role in the industry. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the NCC for giving us this chance to explain and present ourselves to the Commission. We are most grateful to the EVC and we, indeed, commend the NCC’s collaborations with the CBN and Federal Government for intervening at the time they did,” he said. 9mobile Managing Director Mr. Stephane Beuvelet, who was excited that the telecom company has been put on the path of rebound, said in the last three months of having new management and board in place, “9mobile subscriber base rose from 15.3 million to over 16 million.” He said 9mobile subscribers stood at over 20 million before the crisis started but dipped to around 15 million in the wake of the incidence that led to its being taken over by new investors. He added that the number of subscribers on its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) platform subscribers stood at 192,000 by last November, but has  exceeded 235,000. “What all these data point to is that we have actually, in a sense, restored trust in our subscribers who reactivated their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards and we are quite pleased about this rebound which we are ready to sustain. However, we will continue to seek the support of the regulator in sustaining our investment in Nigeria,” he said.

Comments