Investment company Teleology Holdings confirmed it is buying troubled Nigerian operator 9mobile by putting down a non-refundable $50 million deposit, a move likely to disappoint reserve bidder Smile Telecoms.
“The Nigerian telecom sector is set to witness a new era of innovation and vibrancy as Teleology puts finishing touches to its acquisition of 9mobile,” the company said in a statement.
“This payment underscores Teleology’s financial capability and readiness to revive the organisation,” it said, adding it has ambitious plans to guide its “rapid overhaul not only of the network but all aspects of the operations.”
Adrian Wood, Teleology’s director, said: “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.”
Smile Telecoms had been ready to step in if Teleology missed a 22 March deadline to pay the deposit.
Teleology won the race to acquire 9mobile with a $500 million bid: Smile offered $300 million. The company is expected to pay the balance in the next 90 days and is still awaiting regulatory approval.
Teleology plans to double the 9Mobile network with new 3G and 4G-specific cell sites, along with several thousands kilometres of fiber optic cable across the country.
It is looking to drive rural internet coverage by focusing on 4G with broadband access for all of Nigeria’s 774 local government areas. It also plans to increase employment by 50 per cent and wants to introduce “several million 4G-capable premium quality smartphones, at exceedingly affordable pricing”.
Teleology also entered into an alliance with Safaricom to tap into the potential of mobile money services.