BusinessDay

Gravitas, 9Mobile seal pact for telecom, banking services on Gracefield Island

Gravitas Investments Limited, a city developer, and 9Mobile, a telecommunication company, have signed agreements for the provision of telecom, Internet of Things (IoT) and digital banking services on Gracefield Island.

Gracefield Island is an emerging city being developed by Gravitas on land reclaimed from the Lagos Lagoon. The city is located about 2 kilometres from the Chevron Drive shoreline, off the upcoming Lekki- Freedom Way Regional Road, Lagos.

With the partnership, 9Mobile is expected to engender a mutually beneficial relationship in which Gracefield, being a smart, technology-driven city, will provide the needed market and ecosystem for 9Mobile to deploy its services, including its newly launched Payment Service Bank—9PSB.

At the moment, 9mobile has a kiosk on Gracefield Island which serves people that want to purchase SIM cards; do SIM registration, activate new lines, replace misplaced cards or swap them. People can also purchase airtime, do VTU top up or normal airtime vouchers at the Kiosk. This is in addition to the significant telecom Infrastructure that 9Mobile has already deployed by installing its mast on the Island.

But with the new relationship, according to Juergen Peschel, the 9Mobile CEO, the company plans to have a standard VIP experience centre at Gracefield so that “when you get into 9mobile experience centre, we want you to have that feel that “yes I am a very important person.”

Peschel, who was represented at the event by Phillip Oki, the company’s Chief Finance Officer, noted however that as Gracefield Island is an upcoming cosmopolitan city, still at Infrastructure construction stage, they will pace the construction of the Experience Centre to be in step with development on the Island.

9Mobile also made a very significant commitment to deploy fibre connectivity on the Island. That will start from the third quarter (Q3) of this year and it is expected that the fibre (FTH) will be in place by the end of this year.

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Besides telecom services and fibre connectivity deployment, 9Mobile will also be deploying its fintech banking services known as 9Payment Service Bank (9PSB) that will offer online banking services to the residents of Gracefield and present crop of the hundreds of people who currently work on different aspects of construction on the Island.

According to Henry Odudu, 9Mobile partner recruitment officer, who made a presentation on the 9PSB initiative, “we basically operate an agency network to bring banking products to everyone right here on this island. Residents will be able to take cash, make transfer, and pay bills.”

“What we intend to do with our partnership with Gravitas on Gracefield Island is to bring to the residents of this Island the banking service,” Odudu said, disclosing that they have partnered with several fintech firms like Flutterwave and Paystack for efficient service delivery.

It is in their plan too to integrate Gravitas staff payroll such that the staff can be paid through the 9PSB payroll system. This exposes the Island city residents to such services as bill payment, airtime and data subscription, cash in, cash out, account opening, merchant services and transfers.

Earlier, Olufemi Babalola, Chief Executive, Gravitas Investments, had noted that Gracefield Island was a project initiated to create a new neighbourhood that will function like an integrated city.

“It is a new cosmopolitan development that will support excellent lifestyle of living in a serene neighbourhood, working in a vibrant zone and leisure in safety either on the lively promenade, quiet park, cycle on the dedicated lanes or window shop on the retail precinct that offers variety. These started as a vision, but it is now coming into reality as a project,” Babalola said.

This was why, he said, it was interesting for them at Gravitas that 9Mobile understands the vision and are willing to be part of it. He noted further that, by signing the partnership agreement, the telecom company has basically recommitted itself to supporting what Gravitas has set out to achieve.

“People talk about smart city, sustainable city, etc, we are configured to do all that on Gracefield Island by the very masterplan of the project. Our lead consultant, Zutari of South Africa, is a world leader on sustainability design,” he revealed.

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