The acquisition process of 9mobile is taking a new turn as Teleology Holdings is expected to undergo exercises to test its technical and financial capabilities.
According to the Nigeria Communications Week, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Danbatta said that the commission will look into the technical capacity of Teleology before approving the acquisition.
Umar claims that the technical evaluation would be after the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN) is done appraising the financial standing of the company.
"The license and operational spectrum will not be transferred if a preferred bidder falls short of the technical evaluation of NCC. So far, NCC is yet to conduct the technical evaluation,” Danbatta said.
We recently reported that NCC confirmed the $50 million from Teleology Holdings as down payment to seal the acquisition of 9mobile. An announcement that came as a surprise, because the commission alongside CBN had denied an earlier news about a down payment.
The payment of the remaining $450 million is not all that's required for Teleology Holdings. The company needs to scale the financial and technical capacity hurdles. It appears both CBN and NCC are putting the cart before the horse. One wonders what would have happened if the preferred bidder had completed the payment few days after the initial down payment.
This reechoes the concern about the Nigerian government’s interest in the entire process. Or we can just conclude that NCC wants 9mobile to be acquired by the reserved bidder -- Smile Communications?
Danbatta further claimed that the preferred bidder emerged with the full participation of the commission. But the new development about the evaluation process states otherwise.
Since both government agencies have been a part of the process from the beginning, the question that comes to mind is whether they didn't do their homework before and during the bidding process
The ground on which NCC can examine the technical capacity after a down payment has been made is that the bidding process was a free-for-all and doesn't point out the required technical capabilities at the initial stage.
As it stands now, the fate of 9mobile hangs on the outcome of the evaluation process.