Telecoms subscribers on the 9mobile network have taken to social media
to vent their anger concerning the network’s terrible service in the
last three to four days.
The telecoms network, which was formally Etisalat, has been unable to resolve issues causing very little or no coverage in most parts of Lagos since last week Thursday, August 17, 2017.
A 9mobile subscriber with twitter handle @xyzz_ a tweeted at the network saying, “There has been no service all day, @9mobile has completely ruined my day, now I have to port to MTN because you are the absolute worst.”
Tochuckwu Oluigbo, another 9mobile customer, told BusinessDay that the poor network service in the past few days had in some ways hindered progress in her business as her customers complained of not being able to reach her.
“My phone is basically my business because all my customers have to reach me via phone calls. I even make all my transactions using my mobile banking application, but I haven’t been able to do all that since 9mobile network started acting up last week and my customers have been unable to reach me on that line. I had to switch to using my other network provider,” Oluigbo said.
Experts in the telecoms industry say that these kinds of threats should be taken seriously, as 9mobile risks losing even more subscribers than it did when the company failed to meet its loan obligations and was forced to restructure management and change its brand name from Etisalat to 9mobile.
Statistics from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) show that 9mobile currently has just over 18 million subscribers, down from its over 21 million subscribers in 2016, due to shakeups from bank loan debts.
Etisalat failed to reach an agreement on possible repayment plans with 13 Nigerian banks, where the took out a $1.2billion medium term syndicated loan facility taken in May 2013, hoping to be able to refinance the existing commercial medium term debt of $650 million, but missed payment in February 2017, due to an economic downturn and scarcity of foreign exchange in the country. This forced the UAE company to pull out of Nigeria, causing a total rebranding to the new 9mobile.
Industry analysts say with the recent network problems and without investors, 9mobile may not survive in Nigeria’s telecoms market and may have to merge with any other existing operator to remain competitive in this tightening industry.