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Teleology Pulls Out of 9mobile Deal

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  • Teleology Pulls Out of 9mobile Deal

Barely, two months after Teleology Holdings received approval to take over the operations of 9mobile as the preferred bidder, Teleology Holdings has expressed its dissatisfaction with the business relationship with its local partner, 9mobile Nigeria, and has decided to pull out from the 9mobile project.

Investigation has further revealed that Teleology Holdings Limited will be seeking to exit its shareholding in the local joint venture, Teleology Nigeria Limited, which will be required to change its name.

This development, it was learnt, will put the $50 million initial deposit paid for the acquisition of 9mobile by Teleology Holdings, in jeopardy.

Sources close to the 9mobile said that Teleology Holdings had become increasingly uncomfortable with actions taken outside of the agreed business plan, since the November 12, 2018 formal take-over of 9mobile.

According to the source, Teleology Holdings has been blocked from concluding a management services contract with the local joint venture, Teleology Nigeria Limited.

The management services contract would have enabled Teleology Holdings and its team of experts oversees the implementation of the organisation’s elaborate business plans, including funding proposals.

Investigation further revealed that following this ugly development, the Founder of Teleology Holdings Limited, Mr. Adrian Wood, who is the pioneer CEO of MTN Nigeria, has resigned from the boards of Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services, which is trading as 9mobile, as well as Teleology Nigeria Limited.

Wood has also in a statement expressed his disappointment about situation in 9mobile.

“Fifteen Teleology experts have worked since June 2017 on detailed 9mobile turnaround planning, development strategies and financial restructuring. This included lining up more than $500 million fresh direct foreign investment from international institutions.

9mobile is an exciting opportunity to build a revolutionary mobile network that could be the pride of Nigeria, unfortunately it appears that we will not be able to participate,” Wood said.

Wood added that: “We now must stand down from further work on the 9mobile project.”

The development may further compound the woes of the struggling 9mobile operation. In a pre-disconnection notice advertised by the Nigerian Communications Commission in the media on December 18, IHS, the infrastructure services provider, which hosts majority of 9mobile’s base stations, was granted permission to disconnect 9mobile and other debtor telecom operators within a 10-day ultimatum, ostensibly on account of 9mobile’s indebtedness.

Checks gathered that should this disconnection take place, subscribers on 9mobile’s network would have been effectively shut out completely from the telecommunications network and would be unable to make or receive calls. “The 9mobile operation is in dire straits and apart from customer attrition, is battling with huge indebtedness to dozens of suppliers. It would be a tragedy if the acquisition by Teleology goes wrong,” said a staffer of the company.

Teleology Holdings had on November 12 last year, announced the constitution of a new Board of Directors for 9mobile, following the approval it received to officially take over the operations of 9mobile, coupled with the successful completion of the tenure of the former Board appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and in fulfillment of the consequential transfer of final ownership to the new investors.

The seven-man Board of Directors included Nasiru Ado Bayero as Chairman; Asega Aliga as Non Executive Director; Adrian Wood as Non Executive Director; Mohammed Edewor as Non Executive Director; Winston Ndubueze Udeh as Non Executive Director; Abdulrahman Ado as Executive Director and Stephane Beuvelet, as Acting Managing Director.

9mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria, is the fourth of Nigeria’s GSM service providers.

It began trading as “9mobile” in the sequel to the financial troubles in which it was embroiled, when it defaulted in the servicing of a syndicated loan of $1.2 billion owed a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks. In the aftermath, its erstwhile technical partners, Etisalat exited the business and requested that the use of the “Etisalat” brand name by the company be discontinued forthwith.

The 9mobile network, has been at the receiving end of considerable customer attrition since financial troubles became public in 2017.

From more than 22 million customers on its network in October 2016 for instance, the 9mobile network had just a little over 15 million active subscribers as at November 2018.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Fintech

Pan African Payments Company Cellulant Acquires PSP License in Ghana as it Rolls Out a Digital Payments Solution For Businesses

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Digital Banking - Investors King

Digital payments have seen tremendous growth in the past couple of years. As of January 2021, 38.9 percent of the population aged 15 years and older had a mobile money account in Ghana. The share of mobile money users has increased over the previous three years as Ghanaians have gradually adopted a robust digital payment infrastructure.

However, cash remains a dominant preference for payments. One of the contributing factors for the preference of cash over digital payments is the high costs of digital payments that are often passed on to users, a lack of trust in, or familiarity with digital payments.

To curb these inefficiencies in digital payments, Cellulant has successfully rolled out Tingg, a digital payments platform enabling businesses and their consumers to accept and make payments seamlessly.

This announcement comes after the Central Bank of Ghana issued Cellulant a Payment Services Provider (PSP) License. The PSP License allows Cellulant to aggregate merchant services, process financial services, acquire merchants; deploy POS systems, and aggregate payments for banks, institutions, and the general public. The license is a requirement under the Payment Services Act 2019 which mandates that all Financial Technology or digital payments companies be licensed by the Bank of Ghana before they can operate in the country.

With a view to maintaining a sound financial system, promoting financial inclusion and innovation, and ensuring the safety, security, and stability of Ghana’s financial sector, The Bank of Ghana redefined the categories and permissible activities for financial technology companies with PSP enhanced licenses. Allowed services include mobile payments, bulk payments, and mobile banking. This license also allows for the provision of 3rd party payment gateways, a marketplace for duly regulated financial service providers, merchant acquisition and aggregation, the printing, and presentation of EMV cards, inward international remittance services, as well as limited use of closed-loop virtual cards.

Cellulant is launching Tingg in Ghana to provide the best customer experience for all persons and businesses looking to digitize their payments, collect, and disburse to customers today.

Cellulant Ghana Country Manager, Eric Kortey, expressed delight over the product launch and license acquisition, sharing his optimism about the future of payments and the Fintech ecosystem in the country. In his words, “We believe that Ghana is fast becoming a hub for fintech in Africa. Being licensed by the Bank of Ghana means a lot to the growth of our industry and opens doors to increased security and confidence in digital payments systems. Cellulant’s digital payments platform is allowing every Ghanaian to pay for their goods and services through any payment channel of their choice.”

Speaking on the rollout of Tingg he adds, “Cellulant is addressing the fragmentation of payments for both businesses and their consumers. The digital platform, which recently also launched in Zambia, offers simplified payment tools and processes for a merchant to manage their payments. As a result, businesses can allow their customers to make payments for goods and services using locally relevant payment options.

Hundreds of businesses have already begun using Tingg to collect digitally from their customers across Ghana.

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Fintech CEO: Fed Governor Brainard Points to CBDCs as Sustainable Monetary Policy

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fintech - Investors King

Late last week, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard laid out the case for an American CBDC. In her time speaking with the Aspen Institute, she called for “urgency” around the matter, including noting that China is far ahead in the race for a central bank digital currency. Additionally, she suggested that a CBDC would shorten international intermediation chains, keep citizens utilizing government-backed currency rather than moving toward stablecoins, and getting government payments to the unbanked population with greater ease.

“Leaders of the Fed have been moving cautiously towards acknowledging that an American CBDC will exist in the future, but Governor Brainard’s commentary is really the first that lays out the strategic benefits while dismissing a future without a CBDC as impractical. The faster central bank bureaucrats adopt her thinking, the better positioned the country will be strategical,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.

“The dollar is very dominant in international payments, and if you have the other major jurisdictions in the world with a digital currency, a CBDC offering, and the U.S. doesn’t have one, I just, I can’t wrap my head around that… That just doesn’t sound like a sustainable future to me,” Brainard is quoted as saying.

“We’ve been talking recently about the pressure that China’s leadership on CBDC development puts on regional players like Vietnam, but every major power should see the warning signs here. The race to a functional, widely adopted CBDC is this generation’s Race to Space. The United States shouldn’t rest on its laurels to take a wait-and-see approach here. This is the time to be bold and show leadership. Governor Brainard is correct. A monetary policy without employing a CBDC simply is not sustainable,” said Gardner.

Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable exchanges, with a client list that includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.

“When history looks back at the emergence of CBDCs, I think we’re going to, only then, truly understand what a strategic advantage early mover status is. The world is still grappling with attempting to wrap their arms around pandemic-related issues, but that isn’t stopping technology’s ever-progressing march forward. China is taking innovation seriously, and, if for no other reason than that alone, it would seem that other global leaders should be investing heavily. Countries will need to adapt, or they will get left behind,” said Gardner.

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Kudi and Onepipe’s Partners To Provide Financial Access To Underserved Customers in Nigeria

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Kudi and OnePipe- Investors King

Fintech infrastructure startup, OnePipe has partnered with Kudi, a payments service company to provide more inclusive financial services to millions of underserved customers across Nigeria via Kudi Benefits Account.

Founded in 2018, OnePipe, leveraging its API-driven partnerships, is focused on working with organisations to embed and launch financial services like accounts, improved payments and credit within their products.

OnePipe’s CEO, Ope Adeoye reiterated the need for incumbent financial services stakeholders to combine resources with innovators to ensure that underserved Nigerians are included in the digital financial ecosystem. In his words “the collaboration of Polaris Bank, Migo, Zitra investments, Kudi and of course OnePipe has birthed the value proposition driving the Kudi Benefits Account.”

Polaris via its digital banking platform, Vulte, facilitates the provisioning of full-fledged, regulatory compliant accounts, Migo and Zitra Investments provide the lending resources and all of these are stitched together via OnePipe’s versatile API gateway resulting in Kudi Benefits Account – “A NUBAN enabled account that provides services and benefits for Kudi’s unique customer base”

This collaboration with Kudi is set to deepen the financial access to millions of users who already rely on Kudi’s payment service to withdraw cash, send cash and pay their bills through its fast-growing network of over 50,000 Mobile Money Agents across Nigeria.

Speaking on this partnership, Kudi’s CEO, Yinka Adewale said that; “it is important to us to continue to explore various channels to drive financial access to every Nigerian regardless of who they are or where they live. Leveraging OnePipe’s infrastructure, partnership with Polaris Bank and others, we can now provide full utility, NUBAN bank accounts laced with a no-friction credit proposition via kudibenefits.chat and very soon we will be issuing debit cards to millions of users and expand our service offerings to them”

According to a recent EFInA report, over 38 Million Nigerian adults still do not have access to digitized financial services. This highlights the need for improved efforts and more innovative solutions like the Kudi Benefits Account to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Kudi is a leading provider of cash collection, payment and other banking solutions in underserved markets in Nigeria. With a vision to make financial services accessible and affordable for all Africans, Kudi provides millions of users access to services such as cash withdrawal, cash transfer, bill payments, wallet top-ups and more through its fast-growing network of over 50,000 Agents.

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