I imagine that a marriage between Globacom and 9mobile will result in a Jekyll and Hyde situation, if only for a moment before the former digests the latter completely. If you are familiar with Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, you already have an idea. If you are not, just think of Bruce Banner and the Incredible Hulk.
You are probably already aware that 9mobile is up for sale and that rival Globacom is one of the key contenders. After acknowledging that they share the colour green in terms of brand image, a cursory look at the product targeting of the two networks show that they are as opposite as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Or, for millennials, Dr. Bruce Banner and the Incredible Hulk.
Globacom (also operating as Glo Mobile) has positioned itself as a darling of the masses with tariffs and packages that appeal to the price-conscious consumer.
The cheapest data plans? Glo.
The cheapest voice tariffs? Glo.
And we are talking about dirt cheap compared to other networks.
In the other corner, 9mobile (formerly Etisalat Nigeria) offer the exact opposite of what Glo does.
The most expensive data tariffs? 9mobile.
The most expensive voice tariffs? I am not 100% certain, but 9mobile is up there.
Jekyll and Hyde; Banner and Hulk
9mobile and Globacom belong in extreme opposite spectrums. Jekyll and Hyde. Banner and Hulk.
Dr. Jekyll is the amiable, helpful scientist whose alter ego, Hyde is ruthless and immoral. Banner is the quiet, weak scientist whose alter ego is the raging muscles of anger known as Hulk.
9mobile is the cool, calm, collected, Island dude who is currently flat broke, while Globacom is the agbero type from Mushin who has lots of money to throw around. What a picture!
Indeed, a marriage between Globacom and 9mobile will be one between strange bedfellows. The two are as different as night and day. Or Coke and 7up.
If the marriage happens, everything that we knew Etisalat Nigeria – and know 9mobile – for will be wiped out by Glo. It isn’t exactly a bad thing, but that is what will likely happen. Glo will have no use for a separate, independent network running on a separate set of values. Or perhaps I shall swallow my words. Who knows?
The two service providers have some similar headaches in the area of quality of service though. Using a 9mobile internet connection often throws up a number of random issues, including pages not loading properly and a particular gateway error. With Glo, the issue is that some websites do not load at all on their connection, and if you want anything close to a decent browsing experience, use 4G on Glo. Glo 3G sucks but Glo 4G has been a lifesaver.
For different reasons, one hopes that the marriage between Globacom and 9mobile does not happen. Top of the list for me is competition. Globacom swallowing 9mobile will have us back where we were before Etisalat showed up – in a three-horse race. It wasn’t horrible. But one extra option for consumers is definitely a good thing.
The deadline for the sale was moved from end of December 2017 to January 2018. We will soon have an outcome and then it won’t matter anymore what any of us wishes.