By Prince Osuagwu
LAGOS—The latest telecom brand, 9Mobile, has said it was open to new investors after dropping old brand name, Etisalat Nigeria.
The new brand, officially unveiled in Lagos, yesterday, traded as Etisalat Nigeria until its foreign partners, Mubadala and Etisalat of United Arab Emirates pulled out over unresolved loan the company obtained from a consortium of 13 banks.
The void left by these partners is what the new brand says could be available to be filled by qualified investors.
Fielding questions at the unveiling of the new brand in Lagos, yesterday, Chief Executive Officer of the company, Bode Olusanya, said the new brand identity reflected the bold and creative attributes the company shared with its subscribers, just as the withdrawal of the UAE partners is not the end of the company but only paved way for new investors.
He stressed that the innovative services, which have sustained the company in the last nine years, would continue to do so as it was not planning to discontinue giving customers quality and innovative services
He said: “Our new trading name, 9Mobile, represents our 0809ja heritage, our 9ja-centricity, and our evolution over nine years of operations in Nigeria. Although our trading name has changed, we remain true to the same values on which our company was built.
“In our nine years of operations, we have remained at the forefront of innovation and take pride in consistently delivering superior experiences to our subscribers. We continue to establish meaningful partnerships with our customers and partners by providing platforms that support their goals and aspirations.”
Olusanya explained that the new brand was reflective of its Nigerian heritage and a new phase of its evolution after more than nine years of operations in Nigeria.
“With the launch of our new brand, our commitment to providing our subscribers with best-in-class telecommunications services continues. We live in a digitalized world and 9Mobile is positioned to deliver more platforms, products and services using the power of technology.”
“The vivacity of our new brand is an affirmation of our creativity and the recent launch of a volley of value adding services, such as our BlazeOn and Kwikcash service, is testament to this.” He said
Corroborating his statement, chief finance officer, of the company, Funke Ighodaro, said “the immediate focus of the business is to drive value for the benefit of its customers. The approach and timing of the rebranding is evidence of the agility and responsiveness of the business”.
The change of brand name followed a three-week ultimatum handed down by Etisalat of UAE that the name be dropped from use in Nigeria as it withdrew all engagements from the Nigerian company over an unresolved $1.2bn loan secured from a consortium of 13 banks.
Apparently not ready to risk the implications of using the brand name after the deadline EMTS decided to toe the Airtel line.
Recall that following completion of the first round of GSM licensing, Econet Wireless Nigeria (EWN) started business with the 0802 number plan on August 5, 2001. All seemed well, until 2004, when after a shareholder dispute, the company was purchased by Vodacom of South Africa. Suddenly Vodacom pulled out of the country in one of the shortest-lived corporate deals. The company quickly pulled itself together, and resumed trading as VMobile Nigeria, owned by Vee Networks Limited.