Some Information and Communications Technology (ICT) experts on Friday expressed satisfaction at the acquisition of 9mobile by Teleology Holding Ltd.
In interviews with our reporter in Lagos, they hoped that the acquisition would result in a healthy competition in the telecommunications industry.
It was reported that Teleology Holdings Ltd. beat the March 22 deadline for transfer of a non-refundable completion deposit of US$50 million to the Trustee for the bank syndicate holding ownership of 9mobile.
Teleology emerged the new owner of 9mobile ahead of Smile, which was the only other in the final round of the takeover bid.
At the beginning of submission of bids, more than 10 bidders indicated interest in acquiring the mobile network, but only five were shortlisted, which are Bharti Airtel, Globacom, Helios Investment, Smile Communications and Teleology Holdings.
It was also reported that the acquisition bid resulted from the pulling out of the Mubadala Development Company of the United Arab Emirates, 9Mobile (formerly Etisalat’s) largest shareholder.
The pullout was over a protracted $1.2 billion syndicated loan alleged to have been mismanaged by the former board of the telecommunications firm.
Mr Jide Awe, Chairman Conferences Committee, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), said that such an investment should be monitored properly to ensure smooth operations.
According to him, telecommunications industry was a critical part of the economy, and should not be allowed to die.
He hoped that the new investor would stabilise 9mobile again.
He also hoped that Teleology’s investment in 9mobile would stir competition in the telecom industry.
“For an acquisition to take place, it means that the acquired company was going through some challenges; it is expected that the investor will invest more in the business and try to straighten it to be more vibrant.
“We hope that the investment will filter some competition in the telecom market in the country.
“I believe that they (Teleology) will have a plan to overhaul the place.
“An investor may want to buy a company just for assets-striping and money-making, but they (Teleology) should understand that the infrastructure that exists is a critical one, and any form of striping will lead to many losses,” he said.
Also, Mr Emma Okonji, the Chairman, Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), said that the change of ownership was good because `the company was almost going into bankruptcy’.
According to him, if the new owner does not push fresh funds into 9mobile, many things will go wrong.
“The company has a staff strength of over 2,000 and over two million subscribers who will suffer if there are no fresh funds to put the company back on track.
“The funds will push the company back into profitability,” he said.
Okonji also said that Teleology should bring competition and innovation into the industry.
Also, Mr Rogba Adeoye, a former President, Information Technology Systems and Security Professional, told our reporter that the acquisition showed confidence in the Nigeria’s telecommunications industry.
“It means that Nigeria is a good market.
“We expect the investor to roll out in time because the telecom market in the country is very competitive. They are also aware of the challenges.
“They need to be brisk to retain or recapture their market and even get more,” he said.
Adeoye also urged the new investor to introduce innovations that would expose the country to new trends.
He said that innovations would lead to a desired competition in the industry as `old players will not sit down and watch them’.