New owners of NITEL, NATCOM has announced that it will employ over 4,000 as it sets to rollout service in March under the name ntel.
Speaking in Abuja before House of Representatives Joint Committees on Communication and Privatisation , chairman of NATCOM, Mr. Olatunde Ayeni said the consortium has spent over $1 billion to put life in the moribund first national carrier. According to him, the funds and other efforts would see the company engage 4,000 employees by March, as it sets to roll out its mobile lines, and 4G/LTE services for broadband users.
IT NEWS NIGERIA gathered that ntel will begin a phased rollout from Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt before expanding to other parts of the country.
NATCOM acquired assets and licences of NITEL and MTEL, percentage interest held in South-Atlantic 3 (SAT-3) consortium, and identifiable assets capable of generating viable business units.
“NATCOM’s full submission was duly made to NITEL/MTEL’s liquidator and Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises on November 7, 2014. NATCOM’s submission was accompanied by a bid bond in the amount of $10 million as stipulated in the liquidator’s RFP,” he said.
He disclosed that $10 million had been spent on SAT-3 system, quarterly dues to the consortium, system expansion and upgrade since the acquisition, adding that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had assigned another set of microwave frequency ranges to NATCOM upon request for N176.8 million, computed on the basis of 800 bases station network in the first instance.
Following about five failed attempts at finding a suitable buyer for NITEL and MTEL, Government agreed to sell the company to little known player, NATCOM Consortium for $252,251,000. The Union gathered that the buyer had earlier offered N37.128 billion ($221 million) for the foremost operator which was far from what the National Council on Privatization (NPC) had placed at its reserved price.
NATCOM is a special purpose vehicle formed for the purpose of acquisition of NITEL and M-Tel. The consortium is made up of shareholders – NATSPACE Telecommunication Investment Limited, PCCW Global Limited and Prime Union Investment Limited. Other members of the consortium, The Union learnt are Prime Union Investment Limited, Olutoyl Estate Development & Services Limited, Sahara Energy Resources Limited, Legal Resources Alliance & Co and LM Ericsson Nigeria Limited.
With the exception of LM Ericsson Nigeria Limited, all the other members of the consortium are equity holders with Prime Union and Olutoyl Estate holding 30 per cent equity each. LM Ericsson is a technical partner to the group.