Nigeria’s fourth largest telecommunication operator, Etisalat Nigeria on Thursday changed its brand name to 9Mobile, after its foreign partner withdrew its investment.
The Renaissance gathered that the foreign partner, Mubadala Group, which is the major investor from the United Arab Emirates pulled out because of a huge debt of N541 billion.
Sources in the telecommunications industry hinted that on July 4, Etisalat Nigeria appointed a new board to handle the smooth transition of the telecommunications company after a reallocation of shares.
According to sources, Mubadala Group, after pulling out, insisted that its Etisalat Nigeria must drop the brand name ‘Etisalat’ within a shortest possible time.
The new board of 9Mobile is now headed by Dr Joseph Nnanna, a Deputy Governor (Financial System Stability) at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Mr Boye Olusanya, a former Deputy Managing Director of Celtel Nigeria (Airtel Nigeria), is the new Chief Executive Officer.
The CBN and the National Communication Commission (NCC) brokered the transition of the mobile company, with 21 million subscribers.
NCC had earlier warned the creditors that the licence awarded to Etisalat Nigeria is not transferable, effectively stopping the banks from taking ownership of the company.
The Renaissance reports that Etisalat Nigeria began trading in October 2008 with the groundbreaking “08Octoberse” campaign.
To break into the telecom market the company enticed customers with the ability to chose numbers special to them to create their own phone number.
For the very first time in the industry, this tradition of customer-focused innovation helped the company to grow its customer base to more than 21 million subscribers.
The telecom firm ran into a mucky financial crisis shortly after taking a $1.2 billion (N377.4 billion) syndicated loan from a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks in 2013.
Emirate Group recently filed a notice with the Abu Dhabi Security Exchange that it had transferred 100 per cent of its shares with the EMTSHolding BV, the Nigerian partner in Etisalat Nigeria, to the United Capital Trustees Limited.
By Our Correspondent