Etisalat Nigeria Changes Name to 9Mobile + How it Got New Name

Etisalat Nigeria on Thursday after a management meeting by the service provider changed its name to 9Mobile.

The name, according to WESTERN POST sources, emerged from its initial sign off tune 0809 Naija.

Initially, the new owners wanted the name Naija, but the regulator Nigeria Communications Commission overruled the company before they later opted 9Mobile.

The change in name followed the withdrawal of Etisalat International, owners of Etisalat brand name, from Etisalat Nigeria.

Etisalat Nigeria had run into trouble following its failure to meet the loan obligations to a consortium of 13 banks.

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Etisalat withdrew from Nigeria and gave Etislat Nigeria three weeks to change its name.

The banks initially threatened to take over the telecommunications firm but resolved to seize its assets after NCC insisted the banks did not have a licence to run telecom services.

A new board was appointed at Etisalat Nigeria, to handle the smooth transition of the telecommunications company after a reallocation of shares.

The development had seen the resignation of Akeem Belo-Osagie as Chairman of Etisalat Nigeria.

Etisalat Nigeria had in 2013 approached a consortium of 13 local banks for a loan of $1.2 billion for network upgrade and expansion.

The money was sourced in dollar and naira components.

But citing the economic downturn of 2015-2016 and naira devaluation, which negatively impacted on the dollar-denominated component of the loan, Etisalat wrote its creditors informing them of its intention to halt the installment repayment of the loan, until such a time that it was able to raise more money.

After talks to renegotiate the $1.2 billion loan failed, the chief executive of Etisalat International, Hatem Dowidar, said the company, with a 45 percent stake in the Nigerian business, is transferring its shares to a trustee.

Dowidar said all UAE shareholders of Etisalat Nigeria, including state-owned investment fund Mubadala, had exited the company and left the board and management.

 

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