9mobile asks NCC for concessions on issues affecting operations in Nigeria
9mobile, formerly Etisalat has asked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for concessions in areas that are affecting their telecommunications operations in Nigeria.
During a visit to Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Boye, Olusanya, CEO of 9mobile said that there were specific issues in the industry, especially in the areas of spectrum assignment, revisit of data floor price, review of interconnect rates to asymmetric platform, concessional foreign exchange access, national roaming and others that need to be revisited and sorted out in other for the telco to operate seamlessly in Nigeria.
“These need to be sorted out for 9mobile to shore up its revenue and meet its financial obligations accordingly,” Olusanya said.
A statement signed by Tony Ojobo, Director, Public affairs, NCC, said that commission took the interest of investors, subscribers and employees of Etisalat, (now 9mobile) into consideration to align with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in order to resolve the issue of the $1.2billion dollar loan taken from a consortium on 13 Nigerian banks.
Danbatta said; “the over $2billion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), by Mubadala of United Arab Emirates (UAE)was hanging, while 20million subscribers and over 2000 workers would have been affected if we did not intervene in the matter with a view to finding an amicable resolution.
“We want to see a viable an thriving 9mobile and we want to cooperate with you so that things can move seamlessly and be successful,” Danbatta said.
It can be recalled that the NCC had earlier suspended plans to introduce price floor for data segment of telecommunication operators which was supposed provide a level playing field for all operators in the industry with small operators and new entrants to acquire market share exempted for the price floor for data services.
The regulator is also yet to introduce spectrum sharing for telecoms operators and has now been asked to also review interconnect rates to asymmetric platform.
Etisalat failed to reach an agreement on possible repayment plans with 13 Nigerian banks, where the took out a $1.2billion medium term syndicated loan facility taken in May 2013, hoping to be able to refinance the existing commercial medium term debt of $650 million, but missed payment in February 2017, due to an economic downturn and scarcity of foreign exchange in the country.
This forced the Etisalat group to terminate a management agreement with its Nigerian arm, given the business time to phase out the Etisalat brand in Nigeria after its appointment of a new management board to run operations.
Now operating as 9mobile in Nigeria, the telco strongly believes that concessional foreign exchange access through the intervention of the regulator would ensure a more seamless run of operations in the country.
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