Alan Sinfield Comes In As 9mobile’s New CEO, Could He Revive the Sickman of Nigerian Telecoms?


9mobile has announced the appointment of Alan Sinfield as its substantive Chief Executive Officer. Formerly Etisalat, 9mobile is positioning itself to be a stronger competitor in the Nigerian telecoms sector.

Sinfield’s experience covers the fintech, banking, and telecoms sector, spanning countries like the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Portugal, Germany, Iraq, South Korea, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Hong Kong.

He started working with the Bank of America through a trainee management program at the bank. He progressed through the ranks at the bank until he became a Programmer and Business Analyst. He later joined Barclays Bank in South Africa as a technical manager.

He worked with other banks in Hong Kong, Slovakia and Portugal, before he ventured into telecommunications.

Sinfield’s debut role in the sector was a merger and acquisition role with SK Telecom and Shinsaegi Telecom. In 2006, he took up his first executive role as the CEO of Starlink, a subsidiary of the listed Qatari Telecommunications Group which operates in Qatar.

He held the executive position for 4 years until he took up another executive role in Cadcomms (qb), in Cambodia. In Myanmar, Sinfield worked with Amara Communications Co. (ananda), as the Chief Executive Officer and a board member between 2018 and 2019.

Alan Sinfield has held many leadership and executive roles in the telecommunications sector, and has a knack for exploring new places, people and business environments.

“Nigeria is rich in diversity and boasts of energetic, resilient, friendly and hard-working people. I am delighted to join the 9mobile family and I look forward to using my experience and unique value propositions to lead the company in the next exciting phase of its journey.”

Alan Sinfield
Alan Sinfield Comes In As 9mobile's New CEO, Could He Revive the Sickman of Nigerian Telecoms?

According to the new 9mobile CEO, “the goal is to build on the existing strong foundation of the company to create value that will transform the Nigerian telecoms sector. I also look forward to embracing the people, the culture and the unique knowledge that Nigeria has to offer.”

9mobile’s struggle for sizeable market share

Sinfield’s versatility may be what 9mobile needs to build a better presence in Nigeria and turn the struggling company around. In the midst of competitors such as MTN, Airtel, and Globacom, 9mobile’s visibility has shrunk considerably.

From the NCC statistics in March, 9mobile has the lowest market share of 6.41% among all telcos in Nigeria, excluding Visafone. MTN, Glo, Airtel, and Visafone had 38.93%, 27.44%, 27.14%.

1,756 9mobile subscribers ported to another telco provider in March, while 8,225 subscribers ported to 9mobile. This is the highest number since September 2019 when 9,823 subscribers moved to the 9mobile network.

Since bringing in its current CEO, MTN has climbed higher in Nigeria. Under Rob Shuter’s executive leadership, the telco has added more than 18 million subscribers, while also resolving regulatory problems with tax agencies in the country.

Shuter will step down in March 2021, and a new CEO will be announced. Perhaps, Alan Sinfield will be to 9mobile the progressive change that Rob Shuter is to MTN.

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