Etisalat Nigeria changes name, now 9Mobile…….

Etisalat Nigeria has just greatly accelerated the pace of its effort to stabilize the troubled telecoms company by changing the name brand.

The new name is 9Mobile. At an executive meeting held in Lagos two hours ago, the name 9Mobile was adopted and all staff across the country are being notified of the change of name.

Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Ltd. (EMTS) trading as Etisalat Nigeria on Tuesday informed its customers that a proposed change of brand name will not affect its operations.

The telecoms company is yet to unveil the new brand to the public.

Etisalat Nigeria has 20 million subscribers, making it the country’s number four mobile operator with a 14 percent market share. Our mandate is to make sure the business runs as profitably as it can. What is most important now is to … ensure that the business runs and meets its obligations,” the company’s new chief executive Boye Olusanya said on Tuesday.

He said the telecom company is focused on getting the group back on track.

All UAE shareholders in Etisalat Nigeria, including state-owned investment fund Mubadala, had exited the company and left the board and management, Hatem Dowidar, CEO of Etisalat International, disclosed early in the week.

Etisalat Nigeria, Emirates Group disclosed in a filing with the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange it had transferred 100 percent of its shares with EMTS Holding BV, a special purpose vehicle established in the Netherlands, to United Capital Trustees Limited, legal trustees of the banks.

However, following the resignation a fortnight ago of its immediate past Chairman, Mr Bello-Osagie, and last week’s reconstitution of the company’s Board of Directors, the issue of the trading name the embattled firm would carry brought a fresh headache to its management.

EMTS Vice President Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Ibrahim Dikko, had weighed in with an explanation that the company had a valid and subsisting agreement with its former parent company, to continue using the Etisalat brand regardless of the recent restructuring of the Company.

Mr. Dikko gave a hint as to what the new name of the company could be. He recalled that at the launch of EMTS in Nigeria in 2008, “0809ja” was adopted, to affirm the “Nigerianness” of its origin and the company’s sphere of influence.

Following Thursday’s announcement of the new brand name, PREMIUM TIMES learned all staff of the company nationwide were sent notices of the change of name. The company’s new name is yet to be unveiled officially to the public.

Early this week, Mr Dikko said the new brand name would not affect the company’s operations.

New chief executive, Boye Olusanya said the new management was mandated to ensure the business was run a profitable venture.

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