Former MTN Boss, Adrian Wood Returns To Nigeria To Lead Ntel As New CEO


The former Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Adrian Wood, has returned to the Nigerian telecoms sector as the new CEO of ntel, the telecoms company that emerged from the unbundling of NITEL and is currently managed by NATCOMS.

Wood, who assumed his new role on January 8, 2024, succeeds the former CEO, Dr. Babatunde Omotoba, with ambitious plans to raise $550m for restructuring ntel.


In his new position, Wood has been charged with attracting fresh investors and rebranding the telecoms company.


In a letter dated June 5, 2024, obtained by The PUNCH on Tuesday, Wood emphasised his dedication to introducing new investors and rebranding the company in the coming weeks.


Wood also detailed his extensive meetings with the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, which took over ntel’s management last year, and discussed plans for AMCON to return ntel to its new investors.


In that letter, he mentioned his engagements with the management of the Nigerian Communications Commission.


The new CEO outlined his vision for ntel, which includes the introduction of innovative products and services that have not previously existed in the Nigerian telecoms market.


He highlighted the importance of these new offerings in establishing ntel as a competitive and forward-thinking player in the industry.


Part of the letter read, “On 21 May, I visited the EVC/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Aminu Maida.  We had a very productive session about the forward plan for NATCOMS, our role in industry building, as well as the prospects for raising equity and debt capital to fund a complete new 4G/5G network design and rollout nationwide.


“Dr. Maida made several requests for support on NCC’s initiatives, which we will do. In the background, I have been engaging with potential institutional investors.


“When the new financial business plan and offering document is ready soon, there will be a roadshow to raise (estimated) US$500 million to $550m, to restructure, rebuild and develop NATCOMS.


“Already, together with CIO Anthony Adegbola, one New York investment fund visited some of our Lagos facilities.”


He also revealed that he had a meeting with African Capital Alliance, one of Nigeria’s (and Africa’s) premier private equity funds group.


“ACA was an early-stage investor in MTN Nigeria.  In fact, they told us it remains their investment with the best returns, ever.


“Next week I will be seeing three other potential institutional investors. All of them are Africa-focused, have investments in Nigeria in other segments, have offices in Nigeria and are seeking digital infrastructure projects to support with funding.


“Of course, it will take months of negotiations to secure large capital commitments in several stages. And that is the purpose of (55% NATCOMS shareholder) AMCON’s Facility – to see us through the crucial Project Management Office planning phase, new capital formation and network roll out, prior to relaunching the business,” it added.


According to the letter, “There will be an exciting new brand.  There will be a set of business strategies that are fresh, innovative and new to the market.  There will be products and services, and service combinations, which do not exist in Nigeria at present. All technical systems and platforms will be constructed and rolled out nationwide, from the ground up.  It will be an enormous undertaking, but we will prevail.  I am sure of it.”


In 2014, NatCom Development & Investment Ltd (NatCom) acquired the core telecom assets of NiTel/MTel, Nigeria’s national fixed and mobile operators, through a guided liquidation process.


After a successful on-net test data call in Lagos on January 18, 2016, and the first Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) call on February 25, 2016, NatCom achieved significant milestones within its first six months of operation.


The company expanded its network coverage to Abuja, major parts of Lagos, and sections of Ogun, Nasarawa, and Niger states.


Additionally, NatCom launched full VoLTE services, partnered with Samsung, introduced online self-care recharge, and revolutionized the broadband market with its high-speed and unlimited data offerings, transforming the telecom landscape.



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