15214023330_0660d26dc8_b

Strive Masiyiwa, founder of Econet Wireless, recently took to social media to narrate the early days of Econet Nigeria and what exactly forced the company to leave Nigeria.

It got us thinking about how many times we’ve seen the telco change its identity (and management). There was a very fun guessing game we used to play back in the day – How long before Celtel/Zain/Airtel changes its name again? Most times, the guesses were spot on; anything between two and three years was mostly accurate.

And although the telco has stabilised in the identity and management area, it’s still funny when you realise the company has changed names a solid 6 times!

Here’s a chronological recap:

In the beginning… there was Econet Wireless Nigeria

econet-logo

In 2001, Econet Nigeria was one of the three companies that won the GSM license auction – MTN Nigeria and MTEL were the other two. Due to political shenanigans and corruption practises, Econet NG would eventually lose its management contract.

Then there was Vodacom

VC_STK_4Col_R

Vodacom came into the picture in 2004 and took the reins of the company, as management changed hands . It would only last a couple of months though.

But Vmobile was right behind it

images

In what would be the fastest management change in the company’s storied history, a few months later, management changed hands again. The details are fuzzy and we’re not entirely sure what went on behind the scenes but eventually, Vodacom pulled out of Nigeria and Vee Networks found themselves at the helm of affairs. The company became known as Vmobile. There was a corresponding rebranding campaign. This was still 2004.

Let’s not forget about Celtel

celtel

Sometime in May 2006, Vmobile Nigeria was acquired by Celtel, another telecommunications company, for about a billion dollars. This gave the new owners a controlling stake of 65% in the company. Another rebranding campaign was due.

And Zain

ZCalCj7p

Sometime in 2008 we saw another change occur. Zain Group, another telecoms company, completed its acquisition of all Celtel International’s shares of over $3 billion. Consequently, the entire African operations of Celtel was rebranded from Celtel to Zain, marking the end of the Celtel brand.

And finally Airtel:

airtel-logo_new

About two years later, around November 2010, Zain clipped its wings and morphed into Airtel Nigeria. The change was brought about by an acquisition where Bharti Airtel paid a hefty sum of $10.7 billion.

And that’s the story so far. Let’s not be too harsh on the company. I know people who’ve changed spouses that many times as well. And in the case of Airtel, it looks like the company finally found a good, stable partner, doesn’t it?

Photo Credit: assortedstuff via Compfight cc

Read this next
More From TC
AfCFTA, Business, ecosystem, Entrepreneurship, Events, Government
19th August 2019

The Africa Technology and Creative Group’s (ATCG) two-day meet-up in Kigali ended Friday with recommendations on the governance structure, definitive guide on the goals and objectives of the group in relation to the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The ATCG is a coalition of technology and creative professionals who are devoted […]

TechCabal Daily, 842 - Bosun Tijani leads 80 industry stakeholders on a two-day summit over the AfCFTA
AfCFTA, Business, ecosystem, Entrepreneurship, Events, Government
15th August 2019

And so to Kigali. On Thursday, August 15, more than 80 people from 30 African countries gathered in the sleepy and well-manicured Rwandan capital to discuss how to create a framework to ensure the success of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Industry leaders in the technology and creative ecosystems were in attendance on […]


TechCabal is a Big Cabal Media brand



Copyright © 2019
All rights reserved

Privacy & Terms