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9Mobile: NCC conducts fresh due diligence on preferred bidder

9Mobile: NCC conducts fresh due diligence on preferred bidder

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Everest Amaefule, Abuja

The Nigerian Communications Commission says it is conducting another round of due diligence on the preferred bidder for 9Mobile, Teleology Holdings Limited.

The due diligence will determine whether the bid winner has the technical capacity as well as the financial resources to successfully run the beleaguered telecommunications company.

Answering a question from journalists on the lingering takeover of the telecommunications company in Abuja on Wednesday, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, said the commission would soon report to its board on the result of the due diligence.

He added that the preferred bidder must fulfil all necessary conditions before it would be allowed to take over the company formally known as Etisalat.

Danbatta said, “There are issues but let me say we are almost done with sorting out those issues. We are presently conducting another round of due diligence on Teleology: to examine and consequently determine whether they really have the technical wherewithal to run the company effectively;  and whether they really have financial capability to run well and so on.”

The NCC helmsman in April told journalists that Teleology had made the initial payment of $50m for 9Mobile, adding that the preferred bidder had less than 90 days to pay the remaining 90 per cent or $450m.

According to Danbatta, failure by Teleology to pay the remaining $450m on schedule would make it to lose the spot to the reserved bidder, Smile Communications.

The NCC boss said that as soon the technical team of the NCC was done with the latest round of due diligence, the recommendations would be sent to the board, which is in a position to give its consent for possible takeover of 9Mobile.

Speaking on MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, the NCC boss said the company was under obligation to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange by May 2019, in accordance with the settlement it sealed with the operator in 2015.

He also expressed confidence on the capacity of the Nigerian telecommunications industry to keep deepening the nation’s broadband penetration.

Danbatta said, “There is more to achieving the maximum target of 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018 ending. But let me say without fear of contradiction that we have so far surpassed the minimum target of penetration.

“We are presently at 22 per cent, according to the International Telecommunications Union, and we are doing everything within our power to make the penetration more ubiquitous.”

The NCC boss said the N23bn subsidy already approved in the NCC 2018 budget would make it possible for the infrastructure companies to roll out and increase the nation’s broadband penetration.

He added, “Until there is complete fibre connection across the country, we can’t have 30 per cent penetration.”

Danbatta also disclosed that the regulatory agency was working with the office of the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, to oversee the laying of 18,000 km fibre infrastructure across the country.

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