Despite the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) approved transfer of 9mobile to a new investor, Teleology Holdings Limited, the Investment Holding Company is yet to get an operational license.
This indication emerged after the House of Representatives’ Committee on Telecommunications, asked the NCC to stop Teleology from claiming ownership of 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat.
According to a report, the committee grilled the Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, over the sale of 9mobile to Teleology without the knowledge of the lawmakers.
The NCC, however, denied being part of the sale of 9mobile to Teleology, saying that the transaction was between the consortium of banks (creditors) who took over the company from Etisalat and the new operator.
While distancing itself from the 9mobile transaction to Teleology, NCC claimed that it had yet to issue an operational licence to Teleology.
Chairman of the Committee, Saheed Akinade-Fijabi, said
“The last time we met, our decision was for everybody to go back and that anything that was happening on the sale, take-over or transfer of licence, the committee should know about it. Unfortunately, the committee read on the pages of newspapers that Teleology had taken over 9mobile.
“We as a committee do not know anybody called Teleology because they have never appeared before this committee. I believe that NCC should know whoever Teleology is and be able to help us to call them. Unfortunately, they are not here again today.”
9mobile’s ownership tussle background
The problem with Etisalat Nigeria, now 9mobile, started last in 2017 after the telco defaulted on a $1.2 billion loan it obtained from a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks led by GTBank. This caused the parent company (Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates) to pull out and relinquish its 45% stake in the company.
Following this development, the CBN restrained the Nigerian banks from taking over the telco. The CBN instead, constituted an interim board to oversee the operations of the company. Some of the affected banks have since made provisions on the loan.