Mobilising for the Future
Nigeria’s telecommunications industry is flourishing through innovation and dedication to its customers. Jurgen Peschel, CEO at 9mobile, details his experience
Writer: Ed Budds | Project Manager: Josh Hyland
After completing his studies and academic graduation in 1995, Jurgen Peschel, CEO of 9mobile, dived straight into the world of telecommunications.
He anticipated the impending change in how the industry was set to develop societies through new services, meaning freedom for people and endless opportunities for businesses.
Additionally, having taken part in launching the prepaid telecoms boom, the revolutionary step of mobile technology into the mass market, and laying fibre in many countries and under the oceans, Peschel has remained firmly at the forefront of new developments in telecoms.
“This is what creates my fascination for telecommunications. The change in societies and the accelerating momentum of developing economies are exponential due to the innovation telecommunications has delivered,” explains Peschel.
Nigeria is Africa’s number one economy and has one of the fastest growing populations. Being relatively well-developed with sufficient capital, the Nigerian telecoms industry is well-regulated with experienced network operators, seeing all companies competing in a relatively open and unrestricted market. 9mobile is the fourth and final entrant in the Global System for Mobiles (GSM) voice and data spectrum of the sector.
“To have come in at the time we did about 14 years ago, with three other players who were already well established and still achieve significant success in terms of market share capture, has been one of the most remarkable entry success stories of the global telecoms industry,” states Peschel.
9mobile credits this success to the nature of the Nigerian people as a very dynamic group who are always open to rewarding innovative service offerings. Since first joining as CTO and subsequently rising to CEO, Peschel has observed clearly that the only way to survive and thrive in the Nigerian market is to stay on the cutting edge of innovation, which continues to spearhead 9mobile’s winning strategy.
Being a data-centric operator, one of the strongest brand appeals of 9mobile is reliable, quality data strength.
“We were the only network that was 4G ready, which was why the launch of our 4G LTE service in Nigeria was seamless,” Peschel tells us.
“My objective has been to create that enabling space for our people to unleash their creative potential, which translates into viable products that we can offer to the market, whether as entirely new offerings or as revamps of existing ones”
Expansion and attention to detail
Around two thirds of Nigeria’s population are young people aged between 15 and 35, forming the largest customer base in the telecoms sector, and Peschel aims to offer innovative and breakthrough products to this key demographic.
“Since coming on board as CEO, my objective has been to create that enabling space for our people to unleash their creative potential, which translates into viable products that we can offer to the market, whether as entirely new offerings or as revamps of existing ones,” explains Peschel.
With 13 million customers across all 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and with over 2,000 employees working across the various segments and channels of the organisation nationwide, 9mobile’s blossoming business is built around three critical pillars: quality of service, innovation, and exceptional customer experience.
For 9mobile, retail is not part of sales but instead falls under the umbrella of care, with each customer remaining important regardless of revenue.
“I follow up on customer complaints and so do my leadership team. This dedication to listening and committing to resolve issues allows us to stand out from the competition,” adds Peschel.
“Each customer care agent takes every call personally and pursues its resolution with direct feedback to the affected subscriber. We are accessible via all channels, and we spend time in our experience centres to attend and understand the needs of our clients.”
9mobile continues to drive major initiatives promoted and supported by the Federal Government of Nigeria to promote digital inclusion for the Nigerian people. One such project is the rural telephony, which aims to deliver mobile networks and services into remote rural and untapped areas of the country. With the support of international networks and solution providers, connectivity is being established in remote areas, but equally, services are being deployed to allow people access to affordable devices with data capabilities.
9mobile is deploying the National ID services to millions of Nigerians who are not registered, enabling people to access an increasingly growing suite of services including enrolment in education, opening bank accounts, registering for pension accounts, or accessing electoral services.
“We are the exclusive partner for the government in this regard and remain instrumental in driving the further development of Nigeria into a modern and inclusive society, leaving no one behind,” Peschel tells us.
9mobile is in the process of renovating and overhauling the company’s entire network, with special focus on renewable energy and carbon footprint, such as the migration to gas generators from diesel.
“In our data centres, we have just completed the modernisation from legacy diesel technology into using liquified natural gas (LNG), which produces much lower emissions and exhausts much less carbon dioxide. With the modernisation of all our diesel engines on remote sites into hybrid, we have deployed solar technology and lithium batteries,” explains Peschel.
“For 9mobile, retail is not part of sales but instead falls under the umbrella of care, with each individual customer remaining important regardless of revenue”
Investing in Teamwork
9mobile possesses a highly committed, high-performing team whose drive and determination form the key foundations of the organisation.
“The sheer enthusiasm of the team here, the talent and passion our people show for the business, make it an absolute pleasure to work with and lead as CEO, and this translates to a real capacity to deliver on our brand promise,” Peschel acclaims.
In reciprocating these vital attributes, 9mobile invests purposefully in its personnel through training and retraining, to ensure that everyone has the proper tools and equipment to contribute effectively to the overall business goals, while also running a coaching plan that ties into succession planning for every individual role. This way, everyone in the company knows the potential they can aspire to reach.
“We ensure everybody is brought on board to feel a sense of belonging and be personally invested in the company’s goals and vision, whether you work in the call centre, the front desk, or right through to the executive management team,” notes Peschel.
9mobile’s considered approach towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) is anchored on three strategic pillars of health, education, and the environment. Adding to the company’s legacy Telecommunication Engineering Postgraduate Programme and the Pan-Africa Prize for Literature, 9mobile has recently commenced a masterclass training initiative for teachers in different states in the country.
“In the area of education, we are currently on a drive to train 1,000 youths in Kano State, northwest of Nigeria, with specialised vocational skills under the 9mobile-sponsored Digital Jobs and Entrepreneurship initiative,” outlines Peschel.
Going forward, 9mobile remains determined to stay true to the company’s core promises of quality of service, innovation, and superior customer experience for all subscribers. The aim is to further improve its impact from the products and services offered to improve lives across Nigeria. 9mobile plans to continue investing in new infrastructure, network upgrades, enhanced products, and services that will enable the provision of excellent services for subscribers.
“To date, Nigeria is the 54th market I worked for within the telecommunications space, and it is an ever-fascinating industry that is far from reaching its end. There will be much more digitisation ahead for us, fuelled by more innovations including 5G, which telecommunications will deliver and further enhance everyone’s lives,” concludes Peschel.