GSM: As Game Changer clocks 16

The history of Nigeria’s GSM revolution will not be complete if Globacom’s entrance in 2003 isn’t captured.

The Otunba Mike Adenuga’s telecom company, the first and only indigenous telecom establishment in the country has democratised voice and data services as well as pioneering many innovative products in the industry. The company has also invested massively in infrastructure, running into billions of dollars.

The company, Nigerians will remember, actually made telephony accessible to millions through crashing of SIM costs and call tariffs in 2003 at time SIM cards were sold exorbitantly by the early entrants.

The PSB Revolution


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Globacom’s introduction of the billing platform at launch in 2003 caused a stir in the industry and ensured that people only paid for actual time spent on phone. It was regarded as the most innovative landmark intervention in the communications industry since the introduction of GSM services in Nigeria in 2001.

Superior 2.5G Network at Launch

Glo was the only operator in Africa to launch its operations on the superior 2.5G network which enabled the convergence of voice, data and multimedia technologies. This robust platform not only ensured unparalleled voice clarity and low dropped calls but also enabled the offering of value added services unavailable on the 2G technology deployed by other operators in the industry then. These included vehicle tracking, mobile internet, mobile banking, multimedia messaging service (MMS), voice SMS, Magic Plus and Text2email.

The 3G Plus Technology

The introduction of the 3G Plus technology marked the second time that Globacom had been in the forefront of pioneering the latest technology in Nigeria, having introduced the 2.5G technology at launch in 2003 when other operators were running on the 2G platform.

The 3G Plus technology enables a much faster transmission of data, voice, broadband internet and multimedia services over a range of frequencies. It allows customers to do video call and video streaming and to enjoy high-speed mobile internet, amongst others, from their 3G-enabled mobile handset.

Nationwide 4G LTE Coverage

Globacom was the first network to launch a nationwide 4G-LTE coverage in Nigeria, thus putting the country in the league of nations where Long Term Evolution (LTE) has continued to gain ground. LTE is a revolutionary Fourth Generation Mobile Technology, which enhances data transfer rates, delivering unmatched mobile broadband experience and highest data speeds and reliability.

The successful launch of the Glo 4G LTE, the country’s first nationwide network implementation of the technology, makes it possible for millions of Nigerians to enjoy instant, efficient broadband internet at speeds far superior to the 3G network, thus enabling them to download ultra high definition videos in seconds.

With the advanced network, individuals who consume huge volumes of data, government agencies and corporate organizations, including banks, oil and gas companies, academic and health institutions, which require seamless data transfer for their operations now benefit immensely from Globacom’s data intensive applications.

Nationwide Fibre Optic Cable

Globacom has the most extensive fibre optic backbone across Nigeria. The facility was built to further enhance voice and data transmission for mobile and fixed telephone operations in the country. It is complemented by a microwave backbone serving as back-up. The fibre optic cable helps ensure that calls on the network are crisp and clear, without suffering breaks and drops.

Glo 1 submarine cable

Globacom has also contributed to boosting international connectivity in West Africa by building an international submarine cable, Glo 1. The facility connects Nigeria to the UK and US, passing through fourteen African Countries. It was the first time a single company would implement such a massive undersea project in Africa. In addition to boosting the provision of services to telecom end users, the facility is currently providing the much needed connectivity to critical sectors of the economy such as oil and gas, manufacturing, banking, commerce, education and health, among others.

It is also important to state that Glo’s efforts to build an enduring network and a powerful brand in Nigeria and on the continent is paying off. It was last year recognized as the 4th Most Valuable Brand in Africa and has continued to record the most gains in voice and data subscribers in the industry.

Globacom which prides itself as a company that is strategically positioned for the third decade of the millennium is actually addressing the needs of next generation businesses as the smart network is ready and compliant for applications in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Collaborative Anyplace-Anytime workspaces, Cloud computing, third generation of the Industrial Internet of Things and 5G.

The telecom company said it recent network upgrade is in sync with its promise at launch to continuously explore new developments in information and communications technology to deliver services that will spur economic, educational and social life.

Glo said it has scaled up the offering to its subscribers by upgrading its equipment for better voice and data service delivery.

The company said its old equipment have been swapped in several states and cities of the country including Lagos, Oyo, Rivers and Ebonyi, Ogun, Edo, Abuja increasing the capacity and improving the quality of the network across the states.

The operator’s 2G and 3G network components have been swapped with new and higher capacity equipment to deliver improved data and voice service. 4G Coverage is also being extended to several more cities.

It said transmission capacity has been increased with pure IP (internet protocol) BACKHAUL in several states across Nigeria.

“FIBER route relocation has been completed in Abuja to solve the problem of incessant fibre cuts which consistently impaired network quality in the Abuja area. Consequently, network availability and the overall network quality have improved tremendously.

“Many new generators have been pressed into service to replace old ones with improved site uptime’’, the company said.

Glo also disclosed that the data core network interface ports have been upgraded from 40GB to 100GB – meaning the traffic handling capacity is more than doubled (150%).

‘’We have also upgraded the transport backhaul with additional 100GB route and redundancy, resilience – thereby making the network more stable.

‘’100s of new sites are being integrated to improve coverage and take on additional traffic – meaning it is a brand new network now.

‘’Building new sites and as well as changing the old sites to new equipment – leads to brand new network with higher capacity’’, the company said.

Yet there is an ongoing expansion project. The project covers swapping, upgrade, and overhaul of network infrastructure, as well as building of new switches and construction of additional 4,000 km of optic fibre cable to complement the company’s existing fibre optic facility, which is among the most extensive private fibre networks in Africa.

The company’s existing 10,000km optic fibre network is also being expanded to provide capacity and route protection. It will also ensure constant (24/7) connectivity.

The massive project also includes installation of new base stations and densification of existing ones, resulting in a sparkling brand new network that will be congestion-free with reduced call drops. The Lagos microwave network is also getting transformed into a full IP Network geared up to meet future data requirements of the rapidly expanding state.

The 16 years of Globacom has indeed given birth to a lot of positive economic offspring.

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