Debt-ridded telecommunications operator, 9mobile is on the verge reverting to new ownership. The company that won the bid to purchase it, Teleology Holdings, has already paid the $50 million non-refundable commitment fee.

But now it must pay a balance of $450 million within 90 days of the initial payment to complete its acquisition of the company.

The Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC said this on Wednesday and noted that reserve bidder Smile Communications could be considered if Teleology failed to complete the payment in time.

9mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria, is Nigeria’s fourth largest telecoms provider. Trouble started for the company when in 2013, it took out a $1.2 billion syndicated loan from 13 banks but failed to make repayments last year.

Also Read: Teleology Buys 9mobile: 7 Things You Need To Know

Under the stewardship of the banks, the company had to change its board, management and name, and is now up for sale.

Teleology said last month it had made a $50 million deposit to meet conditions for the acquisition and had partnered with East Africa’s largest telecoms operator, Safaricom to transform 9mobile.

Teleology, which was set up by 12 telecoms industry veterans led by ex-MTN Nigeria executive Adrian Wood, was picked as the preferred bidder for 9mobile, following a bid process arranged by Barclays Africa.

Mauritius-registered Smile Communications, which operates mobile networks in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, was named reserve bidder.

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