By Emma Okonji
Worried about last week’s pulling out of Teleology Holdings from 9mobile, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at the weekend said it has taken steps to address the issue in the interest of subscribers, investors and the Nigerian economy.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who made the disclosure, said NCC would do everything possible to ensure that the issue is resolved amicably.
Danbatta, explained that although the issue between Teleology Holdings and Teleology Nigeria was yet to reach the NCC for mediation, he, however said proactive steps had been taken by the Commission, in line with its regulatory mandate to avert distabilisation of the telecoms industry.
Danbatta, said the commission had already made some moves to address the situation in the interest of 9mobile subscribers and the telecoms industry.
“The bone of contention is between Teleology Holdings Limited and Teleology Nigeria, over some disagreements, but as a regulator that is both customer and investor centric, we have set up some measures to resolve the issue between the two parties.
“We need stability in the telecoms industry and we will do everything possible to protect the interest of both the 9mobile subscribers and its investors and ensure there is no disruption of services,” Danbatta said.
Industry stakeholders who are keenly following the development at 9mobile, advised NCC not to allow Teleology Holdings to pull out of the deal.
“Teleology must not be allowed to truncate the 9mobile transition deal. It must complete what it started and deliver on the promises he made to Nigerians when it rolled out its business model on how to manage 9mobile and bring it back to profitability within few years of take over,” an industry expert who did not want his name on print said.
Teleology Holdings Limited, in a statement, had alleged that Teleology Nigeria Limited had declined to execute a management services contract with the former, which led to its pulling out of the deal last week. According to the statement, “Such a management contract is the typical arrangement with which multinationals operate in Nigeria and is the template with which EMTS engaged Etisalat prior to its (Etisalat) departure.
“It is the same template with which Bharti Airtel is engaged with its local joint venture, Airtel Nigeria and with which MTN Group of South Africa is engaged with its local joint venture, MTN Nigeria.
“It is on the basis of such management agreements that such multinationals are legally able to impact on the operations of the local operator including sourcing of relevant expertise and financing as well as paying dividends to offshore shareholders.”
Teleology Nigeria had also in a statement, accused Teleology Holdings of not meeting its obligations in the entire 9mobile acquisition process.
The statement had said Teleology Holdings failed to meet its obligations in the entire acquisition process of 9mobile, even though it owned a minority stake in Teleology Nigeria Limited.
“It failed severally and wholly to meet their obligations. Its founder, Mr. Adrian Wood was not personally present for all the critical presentations made by the consortium during the bid process and failed abjectly with his financing arrangements with Swiss-based UBS Bank.
“In all these failings, other partners in the consortium filled the gap and pushed ahead until the sale was completed,” the statement added.