Teleology has paid a non-refundable $50 million deposit for Nigeria’s 9mobile, crushing any hope Smile Telecoms had of acquiring the troubled operator.
In a statement, Teleology said: “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. This payment underscores Teleology’s financial capability and readiness to revive the organisation.”
The firm added that it was aiming for a “rapid overhaul not only of the network but all aspects of the operations.” Adrian Wood, Teleology’s director, added: “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.”
Teleology’s affirmation of the acquisition will be a disappointment to Smile Telecoms, which noted it was ready to step in as it appeared that Teleology could fail to pay the deposit by the 22nd March deadline. Smile bid $300 million for 9mobile, well below Teleology’s winning bid of $500 million. After paying the deposit, Teleology will likely clear the balance within 90 days, although it is waiting for a regulatory green light.
Teleology is aiming to double the size of 9mobile’s network by deploying thousands of kilometres of fibre optic cable, as well as 3G and 4G-specific cell sites. It is aiming to push broadband access to rural areas, aiming to bring 4G to all 774 local government areas in Nigeria. The group has partnered with Safaricom to explore its options for mobile money offerings, and has stated goals of pushing up employment by 50% as well as offering “several million 4G-capable premium quality smartphones, at exceedingly affordable pricing”.