Etisalat Nigeria is still in a period of uncertainty, following the default on a repayment of the operators’ $1.2 billion loan to their creditors (led by Guaranty Trust Bank Nigeria, Access Bank Nigeria and Zenith Bank Nigeria) issued in 2013.
- Etisalat Nigeria launched in 2008 and currently operates a nationwide mobile network with 19.5 million subscribers (Q1 2017), ranking as Nigeria’s smallest mobile network by subscribers.
- Etisalat Nigeria is a joint venture between Etisalat (45%) and the Mubadala Investment Fund (30%) based in Abu Dhabi. They are established as Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services (EMTS) a local entity trading as Etisalat Nigeria.
- Etisalat acts as the controlling and managing partner of the mobile network in Nigeria.
- Through a controlling share of Morocco’s Maroc Telecom, Etisalat has shares in 11 mobile operations in Africa – Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Togo. Whilst Etisalat Misr (Egypt) and Etisalat Nigeria remain their only own-brand mobile networks, with direct ownership shares.
Etisalat entered the Nigerian mobile market in 2008, gaining 17 million customers during their first five years on the market experiencing 166% average year-on-year growth through successful marketing campaigns and large investments in their network infrastructure. Despite a short history on the continent, Nigeria quickly became Etisalat’s fastest growing and largest market, among all of the group’s African mobile operations within this time.
However, Etisalat risked losing control of their Nigerian mobile operations during Q1 2017 following a default on a S1.2 billion loan repayment scheduled for March 2017. The loan, issued partly in US Dollars, was used to finance the re-modernisation of Etisalat Nigeria’s network and upgrades to 4G LTE in some towns and cities of Nigeria.