Media Centre

21 May 2019


Mauritius, 21 May 2019

  • Ahmad Farroukh, Smile Group Executive Director Operations, appointed as Group CEO
  • Irene Charnley, founder of Smile, appointed as Deputy Chairman

Smile Telecoms, a Pan-African telecommunications group with operations in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, today announces the appointments of Mr. Ahmad Farroukh as Group Chief Executive Officer and Ms. Irene Charnley as Deputy Chairman, respectively, effective 1 June 2019.

Ahmad Farroukh, who currently serves as Smile’s Group Executive Director Operations, is a seasoned and experienced telecoms executive with a distinguished record of commercial and operational success. Mr. Farroukh’s vast experience extends to executive management positions at Investcom Holdings and the MTN Group (where he served as CEO of MTN Nigeria, MTN South Africa and Group Chief Operating Executive, responsible for 19 countries) and immediately prior to joining Smile, as CEO of Mobily, Saudi Arabia’s second largest telecommunications operator. Given the extent of the opportunity and the significance to Smile, Ahmad will spend the majority of his executive time in Nigeria.

Hailed as one of Africa’s most successful business leaders, Smile Telecoms founder and shareholder, Irene Charnley has led the Company’s innovation and pioneering of Africa’s first 4G LTE network infrastructure, using low band spectrum in 800MHz band. thereby revolutionizing the way people in Africa accessed high speed internet. After 12 years at the helm, Ms. Charnley will now serve as Deputy Chairman for the Company and will fulfil a strategic role.

Commenting on the announcement, Mohammed H. Sharbatly, Smile’s Co-Chairman and Group CEO of Smile’s majority shareholder, Al Nahla Group of KSA, said “The Africa telecoms market is as dynamic as it is challenging, and Ahmad is suited to lead Smile’s next exciting phase of growth, as we have transitioned from a spectrum rich upstart to the fastest, most reliable data gigabyte factory in Sub-Sahara Africa. We are equally delighted that Irene will continue to serve the company she founded as Deputy Chair, and we look forward to her ongoing strategic direction and guidance.”

“The next phase for Smile will focus on delivering excellent operational returns, achieving profitability and creating value for all stakeholders, and I believe that Ahmed is best suited to lead the Company forward in this regard”, added Irene Charnley.

“Africa is experiencing explosive data growth, and I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead the operations of one of the continent’s best 4G LTE networks at this exciting time. It has also been a revelation after over 20 years in the industry to witness the power and versatility of Smile’s proprietary technology applications platform, which was developed in-house and provides a huge competitive and cost advantage,” concluded Ahmad Farroukh.


About Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd

Smile, founded in 2007, is a Mauritius-based Pan-African telecommunications group with operations in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa. The company has one of the largest sub-1 GHz 4G LTE commercial networks in Africa, operating in the “future proof’ low band, 800 MHz band and mid band.

Smile was the first to launch VoLTE on its network and has continued with its innovation, having introduced SmileVoice, which is a free mobile app that enables customers with any Android or Apple iPhone device (including those which are not VoLTE-enabled) to make SuperClear voice calls over Smile’s 4G LTE network. Smile was also the first to introduce an Unlimited offering, which enables SuperFast data and SuperClear voice, all on one bundle.

Issued by:

Nicolene van Zyl

Group Head: Corporate Communications and Marketing



On behalf of:

Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd



5 April 2019

In an unprecedented move aimed at further delighting its adventurous customers, innovative broadband company Smile Communications Nigeria (Smile), has signed an international data roaming agreement with NUU Mobile (HKG) Limited a reputable Hong Kong- and United-States based company, to offer international data roaming services to its customers.

This partnership, a novelty, will ensure that Smile customers travelling to top destinations in over 85 countries including US, UK, South Africa, Canada, Kenya and many more around the world are empowered to automatically access data services to send and receive e-mails, download and send business documents and much more.

Lotanna Anajemba, Head of Brands and Communications, disclosed that at the consummation of the launch, Smile would be the first in Africa to partner with NUU Mobile. He further disclosed that only NUU Mobile customers travelling into Nigeria from any country would be able to roam on the Smile network. The service is also available for Smile customers travelling internationally with the SmileKonnect device. Through the partnership, Smile will be able to empower its growing number of customers to conduct business internationally with ease and convenience.

He explained that for anyone to enjoy this service, the person would have to purchase a special Smile 4GLTE mobile device that will be available at a competitive price across select Smile and partner outlets. He noted that this latest partnership coheres with Smile’s unending quest to offer unbeatable value to its customers.

Anajemba justified his company’s selection of Hong Kong-based NUU Mobile on the ground that unlike other brands that sell at the entry level price range, NUU is a “Certified Google Partner,” meaning its phones run on Android software that has been officially tested at certified Google labs.

Some Chinese brands such as Bluboo and Doogee, Anajemba stated, get their Android software from a third party source. He revealed that NUU Mobile has market penetration in the Europe, Middle East and US, with phones available at budget carriers as well as big retailers such as Best Buys and Wal-Mart.

The partnership with NUU Mobile was also premised on attractive data price as customers with the virtual sim technology-driven devices can enjoy Smile data at affordable price. The partnership will also avail Smile customers the Konnect i 4GLTE Mifi device as well as the virtual sim technology cum embedded sim. This innovation offers the best in class service delivery and will make Smile the first telecommunications company in Nigeria to launch a virtual sim device.

NUU Mobile may be a relatively new name in the Nigerian market but it has under its belt a stellar track record. Its services and Products bespeak convenience and superior technology. The company began selling unlocked phones in the US in 2012 with appreciable success. Later on, they expanded their business in India, Europe, Indonesia and Middle East.

Its parent company, Sun Cupid Technology, founded in 1979, has been around for thirty-nine years.

Casting a retrospective look at the company’s humble beginning, Danny Sit, Director of NUU Mobile, recalled that his father, founded the company “back at a time when Hong Kong still had a manufacturing industry,” Said he: “we partnered with a Japanese company and made products for them, which were then sold in Japan and the U.S.” Today the company has become a global enterprise and through its partnership with Smile presents a poised delight to Nigerians and all those desirous of maximizing the use of 4G international roaming service.

A multiple award winning firm renowned for its innovative streak, Smile is the first telecommunications firm in Nigeria and indeed in Africa to offer 4G LTE International roaming. Deploying the 4G LTE which is the latest, most advanced and most flexible global technological standard for wireless data communications, presents a big change when compared to older technologies such as 3G. Smile’s network coverage has remained a great delight to its customers.

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17 March 2017

Smile re-introduces its 4G LTE SIM offer backed by popular demand by existing and potential customers. This is another way of showing customers that their opinions matter at Smile! In October 2016, Smile became the first operator in Nigeria to offer a 4G LTE SIM only proposition into the market with its SuperFast Mobile Broadband service.

The Head of Marketing, Smile Nigeria, Mr. Lotanna Anajemba affirms that the product would deliver SuperFast Mobile Broadband, voice and SMS services to its customers on the go. He also added that the SIM only proposition at N1000 showcases the brand’s promise to deliver affordable telecommunication services to its teeming customers in Nigeria.

The Smile 4G LTE SIM works in compatible devices which operate on the ios and Android operating systems. With Smile 4G LTE SIM, all Smile customers can enjoy one plan for data, voice and SMS at a unique call rate of 8k per second to all networks. Other benefits of using the offer include 30 days access to social network sites, 30 days access to browsing, 30 minutes + 30 SMSs to local numbers available on activation of SmileVoice app.

Some of the smartphones, tablets or dual SIM mobile phones compatible with the Smile 4G LTE SIM include Asus Fonepad 7, Huawei Mate 7, 8 Mate S, P8, Mate 8 Lite, Mate P9, Mate P9Lite, Infinix X600 LTE, Lenovo A2020, A6000, A7000, K5Note, Vibe k4 Note, Vibe P1, Vibe P70, Vibe X2, Vibe X3, Samsung Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5, Galaxy A7, Galaxy A8, Galaxy E7, Galaxy Grand 2, Galaxy JI ACE amongst many others.

Customers can sign up for the Smile 4G LTE SIM offer at or any Smile shop, kiosk or Smile accredited dealer locations.

Acclaimed as the pioneer of 4G LTE technology in West Africa, Smile Nigeria is famous for continuously innovating itself to beat existing market benchmark, all in a bid to provide value adding products and services to its well deserving customers. This, according to Mr. Lotanna, aligns with Smile’s global vision and mission to be the telecommunications services provider of choice in all its markets and enable its customers achieve more.

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8 March 2016

Nigeria, 8 March 2016 – today Smile Communications Nigeria (“Smile Nigeria”) announced the introduction of two 4G LTE innovations to its customers in Nigeria – SmileVoice and SmileUnlimited. Smile is the first operator in West Africa to offer its customers Voice over LTE services, giving them access to the fast growing Global standard for voice and video calling.

SmileVoice comes in two options; using a world-first downloadable free mobile App that affords customers with a Smartphone Android and Apple iPhone device the ability to make SuperClear voice calls over Smile’s 4G LTE network, or through the use of VoLTE-enabled handsets plus a Smile SIM card, such as the latest Samsung devices.

SmileUnlimited offers customers 30 days of unlimited access to Smile’s SuperFast 4G LTE mobile broadband service.

Dr Ernest Nnaemeka Azudialu-Obiejesi, Chairman Smile Communications Nigeria said, “Smile is the first mobile operator in West Africa to develop and introduce Voice over LTE, plus a world first to in a free Voice over LTE application that enables all our customers in Nigeria with Android and iPhone devices to experience high-quality voice calls over Smile’s network. We are committed to improving the quality of voice and data services in Nigeria. With SmileVoice our customers can call anyone locally and in the world just like on any other mobile.”

“With our recently announced funding Smile has doubled the size of its 4G LTE network in Nigeria to 7 states and the capital and now provides 30-days of unlimited access to SuperFast mobile broadband – there is no other provider that is offering its customers such value and convenience,” says Dr Azudialu-Obiejesi.

Elaborating on the SmileUnlimited offering, Mr Michiel Buitelaar, Managing Director Smile Nigeria explained that any unlimited offering is subject to a fair usage policy (FUP). Smile’s FUP is very generous when compared with other local offers and ensures that connectivity is maintained throughout the 30-day period.

Not only is Smile’s pricing more affordable than that of competitor narrowband offerings, but Smile’s superior experience of true broadband makes SmileUnlimited a fitting application of Smile’s value proposition of speed, quality, reliability and simplicity.

The free SmileVoice App is a world-first, enabling customers that don’t have VoLTE-capable handsets to make reliable Voice over LTE calls when connected to Smile’s mobile broadband network. “In the Nigerian market Android is the leading handset and together with the free SmileVoice App, we are ensuring that all our registered customers have a way to experience high-quality voice calls from their mobiles,” says Mr Buitelaar.

“We made our first Voice over LTE calls in Nigeria during beta-testing in October 2015 and the feedback from our existing customers since our soft-launch early February has been extremely positive. Thousands of our customers now make national and international voice calls using their data bundles,” says Mr Buitelaar about the Nigerian market.

To use SmileVoice, customers will be required to have a registered SIM card and active SmileData service. When out of range of the Smile network, the SmileVoice App will enable calls from any device that is connected to the Internet via 3G or Wi-Fi at home or abroad. Customers who make calls when travelling abroad will be charged their local call rates, as if they were calling from home.
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About SmileVoice

Registered Smile customers can use their one data bundle for SuperFast mobile broadband plus voice calls, video calls and SMSs. All SmileVoice calls are charged in MBs per second to an active data bundle which equates to a kobo/second rate. For example, when a customer has a 10GB Anytime bundle and makes a one minute local call, the customer will be charged 6MBs from their data bundle, which equates to ₦5.27. The effective call rate of 8.79kobo/second associated with the 10GB Anytime bundle is lower than any local call rate in the market! For more information on SmileVoice please visit

About SmileUnlimited

Smile offers customers the convenience to stay connected to SuperFast 4G LTE mobile broadband for 30 days without the concern of being disconnected. The Smile Usage Policy (SUP) applies and when reached a slower speeds will be experienced, however access to applications such as email, online banking and searching information on the internet is still available and a very good experience. Please visit for more information.

About Smile Nigeria coverage

Smile launched the first 4G LTE network in West Africa in Nigeria in 2014 revolutionising the way people access the internet. Customers in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Benin City, Kaduna, Onitsha and Asaba can experience the country’s most reliable SuperFast 4G LTE mobile broadband services, and also enjoy SuperClear voice calls, video calls and SMSs from their one SmileData bundle. Please visit


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