Come March 9, in Lagos, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of telecommunication firm, ntel Nigeria, Mr. Ernest Akinlola, will open up to journalists on varied industry issues including the challenges plaguing the industry and way forward.
Akinlola will be speaking at the March edition of a monthly interactive programme with ICT companies’ CEOs tagged ‘Breakfast With The CEO’, on the platform of the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA) under the supervision of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ),
It could be recalled that after several years of failed attempts to sell the Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) to core investors by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the agency eventually sold NITEL to NatCom Development & Investment Limited, trading as ntel, in 2015, through a guided liquidation process, after the unbundling of the state-owned telecommunications firm.
Touted as Nigeria’s most revolutionary telecommunications company which provides 4G LTE Advanced network that delivers superfast call-connect times, crystal clear Voice-over-LTE and extraordinarily high Internet access speed, ntel at inception aimed to redefine the Nigerian telecommunications landscape and enrich the lives of Nigerians by delivering the most advanced communications technology across the largest possible network coverage in the most effective, valuable and satisfying manner.
Although ntel is currently live in three of Nigeria’s largest commercial cities: Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, there are already plans in motion to expand to more cities and meet its projected coverage of 85 percent of mobile broadband spending within 3 years and about 95 percent within 5 years.
Akinlola, whose appointment late September 2017, to succeed Kamar Abass, ntel’s pioneer chief executive officer, was seen in some quarters as a test of his managerial expertise to turn around ntel and reposition the company for effective competition.
Described as a well-educated, widely-travelled and vastly experienced in the field of telecommunications, Akinlola holds a degree in economics, and is a Chartered Accountant and fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. He also holds an MBA from Manchester Business School, and has worked in pharmaceuticals, packaging and delivery, telecoms and consulting firms.
Akinlola as head of department, led the assessment and subsequent launch of Virgin Mobile UK on the One 2 One network, which proved to be the pioneering Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) at the time.
Following One 2 One’s acquisition by T-Mobile, Akinlola was a key member on the integration team, leading on commercial strategy and growing the wholesale side of the business to launch several MVNO’s focused on specific customer segments.
He was an integral member of the team charged with executing Virgin Mobile’s $1.5 billion IPO. Many senior roles followed including leading the transformational roll out of T-Mobile’s store retail programme.
Akinlola was subsequently headhunted as COO by Lycamobile, the world’s largest international MVNO, to lead its European strategy, successfully expanding into 10 countries including UK, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Spain within two years.
Following his notable successes in Europe, he focused on Nigeria’s telecoms sector and was approached to lead a major marketing drive for the former Etisalat, now 9mobile, the 4th entrant in a highly competitive telecoms market. As marketing director, he spearheaded a range of initiatives that took the former Etisalat from the fourth ranked operator to the second, in terms of Average Revenue Per User (ARPU).
Analysts see the task before Akinlola as huge given the fact that the company has a system in place that seems not appealing to customers who wanted to feel more of the impact of ntel at the grassroots level.
The NITRA Breakfast meeting with the CEO, therefore, offers Akinlola an excellent opportunity to showcase some of ntel’s achievements, challenges and plans for the year as well as how he plans to tackle the tasks and challenges ahead of him before the largest gathering of ICT journalists drawn from the print, electronic and online platforms.