Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

4G/5G

Bidders Line Up for Nigeria's 9Mobile: Reports

Article Image
Ten companies have been pre-qualified to submit bids for Nigeria's number four mobile operator 9Mobile, according to local media reports.

The operator, which adopted the 9Mobile brand in July having been previously known as Etisalat Nigeria, had a turbulent first half of the year, during which its previous major stakeholder, Middle East powerhouse Etisalat Group, relinquished its 70% stake. (See Etisalat Nigeria to Become 9Mobile and Orange, Vodafone Eye Stake in Etisalat Nigeria Report.)

That soon led to speculation about which companies might seek to take over the operator and either enter the market, worth in excess of US$7 billion a year and with more than 155 million users, or secure a bigger market share. (See Nigeria's 9mobile Open to New Investors and Virgin Mobile, Vodacom Emerge as Potential 9mobile Investors – Reports.)

Now, according to ThisDay, Barclays, the financial adviser for any investment, has pre-qualified 10 of the 16 companies that expressed an interest in taking control of 9Mobile.

According to ThisDay's sources, those 10 are:

  • Globacom Nigeria already the number two mobile operator in Nigeria
  • Bharti Airtel already the number three mobile player, operating as Airtel Nigeria
  • Alheri Engineering Ltd. the telecoms business unit of the Dangote Group
  • Smile Telecoms Holdings a telecoms firm with operations in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda
  • Helios Investment Partners private investment firm that previously owned Helios Towers Nigeria, a mobile network infrastructure company that was sold in 2016
  • Centricus Capital in partnership with Africell Africell has operations in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gambia, Sierra Leone and Uganda
  • Abraaj Capital -- a Dubai-based private equity firm
  • Teleology Holdings Ltd. -- a business led by a former CEO of MTN Nigeria, Adian Wood, who is working on the bid with Ericsson
  • Africa Capital Alliance (ACA) a Lagos-based investment firm
  • The Carlyle Group -- a global private equity player with extensive experience in the communications services sector

The highest bidder will get the chance to control Nigeria's fourth largest mobile operator, but the sooner a new owner with a new strategy is announced the better, as 9Mobile is losing subscribers and market share: It has lost more than 3 million customers this year and its market share is now below 12%, according to the Ovum World Cellular Information Service (WCIS).

There seems little doubt that if any of the country's existing mobile operators win the bidding process there will be a legal appeal and some sort of regulatory intervention that would then hold up the process.

Nigeria's current mobile leader is MTN Nigeria, which commands a market share of about 37%, followed by Globacom with about 26% and Airtel Nigeria, with almost 25%. If either Globacom or Airtel are successful, they would be able to challenge MTN for market leadership.

Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, Light Reading for Connecting Africa.

Innovation hub

Story

Four agritech startups to watch in 2024

Connecting Africa has compiled a list of four agritech startups that are making a difference in the communities they serve.

Story

Paymentology looks to strengthen its African roots

Global issuer-processor Paymentology's CEO Jeff Parker spoke to Connecting Africa about the company's African roots and aspirations to work with more banks, fintechs and enterprises both on the continent and globally.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: February 2024

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in February 2024 in the Middle East and Africa included 5G launches in Senegal and 5G trials in Egypt as well as Kenya's first 5G MVNO. Airtel also launched a new wholesale connectivity business while MTN and Huawei are planning a joint Innovation Technology Lab in South Africa – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: January 2024

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in January 2024 in the Middle East and Africa included a $200 million fintech deal between MTN and Mastercard as well as 5G network trials by Telecom Egypt – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id test-002