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NIGERIAN TELECOMMUNICATION INDUSTRY |PHOTOS,NEWS,ETC.


This old image of masts in the outskirt of a town in Nigeria revealed how the Nigerian telecommunication, in term of subscribers, is progressing.

Zain & Zoommobile: Beyond name change

By STANLEY OPARA
Published: Tuesday, 12 Aug 2008
The Nigerian telecom sector recently witnessed the re-branding of two major players in the CDMA and GSM segments. Though a welcome development, stakeholders are of the opinion that the prevailing challenges in the sector go beyond the mere change of names. STANLEY OPARA examines this trend.

All over the world, the essence of re-branding exercise in a corporate environment is to inspire customer confidence, maximise sales’ conversion rate (patronage), convey the function and values of a business at a glance and help such business stand out from the crowd.

The trend is not unconnected to the aspirations of stakeholders in an environment like Nigeria where, over the years, complaints, protest and agitations have characterised the provision of telecommunications services.

In the minds of subscribers, a calculated attempt by an operator to undertake a major milestone such as to re-brand its identity, means hope and better days not just for the operator, but for its subscribers.

An operator may have various reasons for wanting to re-brand, but the general notion is that every act of re-branding is a plus to business, in that the business is being placed on a better platform and showcased in a brighter light.

Following the re-branding of Celtel Nigeria to Zain, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Adebayo Ligali, explained that all its customers would experience and enjoy similar and consistent quality of service, reliability and standards of excellence wherever they lived, work and travelled in the Middle East and Africa.

He said the essence of the re-branding process was targeted at expansion, noting, “As we continue to expand our boundaries of operation, our customers will benefit through synergies of the common products and services that are currently offered and of those that will be developed in the future.”

The Executive Vice-Chairman, ZOOMmobile Mr. Ken Aigbinode, also attributed the company’s re-branding from Reltelwireleess to ZOOMmobile to expansion.

He said the move which was prompted by a customer survey, was expected to change the market perception of the company from a fixed wireless to a national mobile operator.

In this light, stakeholders in the telecommunications sector, including subscribers, operators and the regulator, have said that the re-branding should lead to improvement in the quality of service for it to be meaningful.

They are of the opinion that hitches hitherto encountered by operators on their networks, should now be a thing of the past, or reduced to the barest minimum.

With the rebranding exercise taking a shape, which to a large extent, upholds the whole idea of globalisation, it is also expected that the enormous dividends of globalisation, which guarantee efficiency and effectiveness, would be actualised.

Upholding this argument, Ligali said, “Twelve of the 14 African operations in the Zain Group have already created the ‘One Network,’ the first borderless mobile network, which serves about 600 million people or approximately 20 per cent of Africa’s population.

“This will enable our customers to fully benefit from a global brand with superior coverage and quality of service, capturing share of mind across national boundaries linked with the opportunity to move freely across geographic borders without roaming charges.”

The CEO added that the global brand alignment, aside providing a level playing field with other flagship operators, would also provide the Nigerian company access to resources of a global wireless leader.

It is also expected that re-branding in a global sense, would increase speed to market through global innovation of products and services in addition to economies of scale, which is achievable through creative development and media buying, among others.

Mr. Nduka Ohaegbu, a communications consultant said in re-branding, there was the need to strike a balance between approachability and professionalism, targeted at producing a logo that immediately inspired confidence and encouraged regular usage or patronage.

He explained, “Re-branding from one target to another is hard to do if you try to take it all on in one step. The best way to re-brand is to stage your image changes so that you slowly move towards your desired target, not assuming that you can just change everything at once.

“Your desired segment is out there, and just like any other market, it is waiting for someone to deliver what they want. As long as you are prepared to listen, adjust, and deliver on your promises, there is no market segment that is out of your reach.

But get there one step at a time, with deliberate care to be what you claim to be and with a keen ear on the customers pulse.”

Aigbonode maintained that re-branding, as being exhibited by the companies, should depict an improvement in quality of service and network capacity.

Noting that ZOOMmobile was incorporating a great deal of speed in its identity and capitalising on affordability, dependability, innovation and service, he added that above all, customer centricity was essential.

The Chief Executive Officer, Zain Group, Dr. Saad Al Barrak, said, “Our re-branding is deeply rooted in an evolving internal culture of service excellence.

“This truly is a defining moment in the history of global telecommunications. The connecting of One Network across two continents demonstrates how under one brand, Zain is able to offer enhanced mobile telephony services.

“Going forward, it will now be easier and more affordable for people to keep in touch and support cross-continent trade and enterprise. This is the essence of the Zain brand promise to create ‘A wonderful world.”

Complimenting this, the Chief Executive Officer, Zain, Africa, Mr. Chris Gabriel said the company was confident that its African customers will embrace the vibrant and colourful Zain identity, adding that as one brand, it will be better positioned to offer customers more innovative products and services alongside the best network coverage on the continent
 

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Nigeria Records 1.2m New Subscribers Monthly–Ndukwe

By Efem Nkanga, 08.18.2008

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ernest Ndukwe, has disclosed that Nigeria records 1.2 million new subscriptions each month to its growing subscriber base which has crossed 54 million active connections.
Engr Ndukwe, who disclosed this at an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos at the weekend stated that the GSM revolution has transformed communications in the nation and has added to the economic growth of the nation which according to him is growing by 6% per annum.
He stated that the growth of mobile technology which will be seven years old this August has been so phenomenal that it has become a reference point for other countries.
“Since January this year, the telecom network has witnessed steady growth which currently outstrips 1.2 million lines every month, which indicates the fact that the growth rate is still not abetted. This also shows that Nigeria has witnessed economic growth because there is a linkage between acquisition of telecom services and economic improvement”, he said.
Commenting on the challenge of quality of service in the sector, Ndukwe stated that measures taken by the commission in the last few months has achieved notable improvements across the networks.
He stated that the commission had been active in following up with operators to find a permanent solution to issues of service quality.
One of the measures taken by the commission according to him is the issue of compensation which he described as the first in the country in which the NCC compelled operators to pay subscribers a token as compensation for poor services rendered. Other measures according to him taken by the commission include the acquisition of new systems for monitoring quality of service as well as stopping operators from further promos until they improve capacity etc.
On the registration of SIM cards being proposed by the commission and other stakeholders, Ndukwe stated that the commission decided on this course of action because of several reports from security agencies on increased criminal activities perpetrated through the use of mobile phones in the country.
He added that NCC was collaborating with the Nigerian security and intelligence agencies, and major telecom operators to ensure that henceforth all existing and prospective prepaid mobile phone services are registered in the country.

Ndukwe, who expressed optimism that the registration of sims will bring in sanity said that modalities were being worked out for immediate implementation of the scheme. He reiterated that identity registration is very important and called for a credible data base in the country that can be referred to curtail identity theft.
On the slow growth of fixed lines infrastructure in the country compared to mobile, Ndukwe stressed that fixed lines have never been known to grow as fast as mobile globally. He reiterated that though fixed line had good prospects and will grow in the future, it will not be like mobile`
He said that most of the land line infrastructures across the world today were built in the 1980s and the 1990s, which he said was the time that Nigeria missed the opportunity and that up to 2000, rather than progress, NITEL’s infrastructure has retrogressed.
He noted that with the fibre optics projects going on with some operators like Globacom focusing also on the fixed, their may be some hope. While agreeing that the cabling infrastructure is best for high bandwidth traffic, he however said some wireless systems are now carrying as huge bandwidth which is the reason why some of the operators have embraced it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3

MTN Nigeria is part of the MTN Group, Africa’s leading cellular telecommunications company. On May 16, 2001, MTN became the first GSM network to make a call following the globally lauded Nigerian GSM auction conducted by the Nigerian Communications Commission earlier in the year. Thereafter the company launched full commercial operations beginning with Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

MTN paid $285m for one of four GSM licenses in Nigeria in January 2001. To date, in excess of US$1.8 billion has been invested building mobile telecommunications infrastructure in Nigeria.

Since launch in August 2001, MTN has steadily deployed its services across Nigeria. It now provides services in 223 cities and towns, more than 10,000 villages and communities and a growing number of highways across the country, spanning the 36 states of the Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Many of these villages and communities are being connected to the world of telecommunications for the first time ever.

The company’s digital microwave transmission backbone, the 3,400 Kilometre Y’elloBahn was commissioned by President Olusegun Obasanjo in January 2003 and is reputed to be the most extensive digital microwave transmission infrastructure in all of Africa. The Y’elloBahn has significantly helped to enhance call quality on MTN network.

The company subsists on the core brand values of leadership, relationship, integrity, innovation and “can-do”. It prides itself on its ability to make the impossible possible, connecting people with friends, family and opportunities.

* MTN expands fixed-line services in Nigeria
 

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Nigeria’s Glo Targets S’Africa’s Vodacom

Nigeria’s Second National Carrier, Glob-acom – reputed as Africa’s fastest growing telecommunications network – has expressed interest in Telkom’s assets in Vodacom, Southern Africa’s leading telecommunications network.
Sources in Johannesburg, South Africa, said if Globacom’s expression of interest succeeds, it will lead to a 100 per cent merger between Globacom and Vodacom, thereby creating the continent’s largest telecommunications company.
“If the alliance is consummated, it will enable both Glo and Vodacom to pull resources together and build a pan African telecommunications giant that will be the biggest and the best,” an industry analyst told THISDAY.
Sources said Globacom is set to battle it out with UK’s Vodafone for Telkom’s shares in Vodacom. Vodafone is currently a part-owner of Vodacom.
Incidentally, Globacom’s vision since it launched its services five years ago is “to build the biggest and best telecommunications network in Africa”.
Joe Fizelle of Mowana Investment, Johannesburg, said he was optimistic that Globacom’s offer would be considered because “it presents value and growth potential to Telkom shareholders”.
The deal would see Globacom merge with Telkom’s asset in Vodacom in a new listed entity to be dubbed “Vodaglo”, with both Glo and Vodacom being equal partners.
Fizelle expressed hope that the South African government, with a 39 per cent stake in Telkom, would find the Nigerian offer more attractive than the idea of retaining a minority interest in Vodacom and seeing it become British owned.
Globacom’s expression of interest in Telkom’s assets in Vodacom is already generating tremendous excitement in the continent as it is seen as Africa’s indigenous solution to the continent’s huge telecoms challenges, industry analysts said.
Globacom has very strong footprints in the West African sub region, while Vodacom has robust footprints in the Southern African region.
The West African telecoms giant, which has over 20 million subscribers in Nigeria, instantly became the bride of the industry when it launched its operations in 2003 with its revolutionary and pocket friendly products and services.
Earlier in the year, it inaugurated its network in Benin Republic and shortly after won the licence to operate in Ghana.
Globacom is also on the verge of sealing operating licences in two other West African countries within the next one month.
Regarded as Nigeria’s most innovative telecommunications brand, Globacom is also building a submarine optic fibre cable from Lagos in Nigeria through 16 African countries to Bude in the UK and New York in USA.
The submarine cable, christened in the telecommunication industry as “Glo 1”, is right now off the coast of Senegal and will be due for inauguration soon.
Vodacom provides GSM service to more than 23 million customers in South Africa, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho and Mozambique.
Industry experts in South Africa believe the new development has better prospects in store for both operators as it will also foster a stronger bond between Nigerian and South African entrepreneurs.
Before now, there had been no multi-billion dollar business relationship between Nigerian entrepreneurs and their South African counterparts at this scale.
“This move is the next biggest thing to really drive home the need for investment cooperation between Nigeria and South Africa.
It represents true expression of collaboration between the two countries,”.
 

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Nigeria’s Glo Targets S’Africa’s Vodacom

Nigeria’s Second National Carrier, Glob-acom – reputed as Africa’s fastest growing telecommunications network – has expressed interest in Telkom’s assets in Vodacom, Southern Africa’s leading telecommunications network.
Sources in Johannesburg, South Africa, said if Globacom’s expression of interest succeeds, it will lead to a 100 per cent merger between Globacom and Vodacom, thereby creating the continent’s largest telecommunications company.
“If the alliance is consummated, it will enable both Glo and Vodacom to pull resources together and build a pan African telecommunications giant that will be the biggest and the best,” an industry analyst told THISDAY.
Sources said Globacom is set to battle it out with UK’s Vodafone for Telkom’s shares in Vodacom. Vodafone is currently a part-owner of Vodacom.
Incidentally, Globacom’s vision since it launched its services five years ago is “to build the biggest and best telecommunications network in Africa”.
Joe Fizelle of Mowana Investment, Johannesburg, said he was optimistic that Globacom’s offer would be considered because “it presents value and growth potential to Telkom shareholders”.
The deal would see Globacom merge with Telkom’s asset in Vodacom in a new listed entity to be dubbed “Vodaglo”, with both Glo and Vodacom being equal partners.
Fizelle expressed hope that the South African government, with a 39 per cent stake in Telkom, would find the Nigerian offer more attractive than the idea of retaining a minority interest in Vodacom and seeing it become British owned.
Globacom’s expression of interest in Telkom’s assets in Vodacom is already generating tremendous excitement in the continent as it is seen as Africa’s indigenous solution to the continent’s huge telecoms challenges, industry analysts said.
Globacom has very strong footprints in the West African sub region, while Vodacom has robust footprints in the Southern African region.
The West African telecoms giant, which has over 20 million subscribers in Nigeria, instantly became the bride of the industry when it launched its operations in 2003 with its revolutionary and pocket friendly products and services.
Earlier in the year, it inaugurated its network in Benin Republic and shortly after won the licence to operate in Ghana.
Globacom is also on the verge of sealing operating licences in two other West African countries within the next one month.
Regarded as Nigeria’s most innovative telecommunications brand, Globacom is also building a submarine optic fibre cable from Lagos in Nigeria through 16 African countries to Bude in the UK and New York in USA.
The submarine cable, christened in the telecommunication industry as “Glo 1”, is right now off the coast of Senegal and will be due for inauguration soon.
Vodacom provides GSM service to more than 23 million customers in South Africa, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho and Mozambique.
Industry experts in South Africa believe the new development has better prospects in store for both operators as it will also foster a stronger bond between Nigerian and South African entrepreneurs.
Before now, there had been no multi-billion dollar business relationship between Nigerian entrepreneurs and their South African counterparts at this scale.
“This move is the next biggest thing to really drive home the need for investment cooperation between Nigeria and South Africa.
It represents true expression of collaboration between the two countries,”.
This didnt even make the news in SA... surprising read. However it is most likely that Vodafone will increase its stake in Vodacom.


On a related issue, how easily available is broadband in Nigeria? As many of you have commented there are basically no Nigerian forumers actually on the ground in Nigeria, is there any particular reason for this?
 

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This didnt even make the news in SA... surprising read. However it is most likely that Vodafone will increase its stake in Vodacom.
That's since happened.
However, the Globacom bid was actually initially broken in South Africa by BusinessDay South Africa.

PS: I'm on the ground in Nigeria. Netcom offers 3G mobile broadband wireless services in the major cities, while all the cellular networks offer broadband like data download speeds of up to 384 kbps for GSM 3G networks or in the case of CDMA EV-DO Rev 0 theoretical speeds of 2.4 Mbps. Outside of key cities data rate drops down to 52Kbps but cellular companies will probably eventually upgrade their towers nationwide for it.
 

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Do any of the Nigerian operators offer HSDPA, HSUPA or WiMax yet?
None that i know of but Suburban offers WiMax in Abuja and i understand that the Lagos state government intends to deploy WiMax also. GSM, GPRS, UMTS and CDMA 2000 Rev 0 or Rev A are primarily the technologies offfered in the country.
 

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Do any of the Nigerian operators offer HSDPA, HSUPA or WiMax yet?
There are several WiMAX providers in Nigeria, and all 3 major GSM operators in Nigeria offer HSDPA.

Zain Nigeria (then Celtel) was the first to trial launch HSDPA in Nigeria back in late 2006, but it did not start offering full scale commercial HSDPA until early-2008. Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria and Glo Mobile (the mobile arm of Globabcom) both launched their HSPDA in late 2007. Furthermore, new entrants Etisalat launched in late 2008 (and reportedly enables HSUPA on its network), while Alheri (a subsidiary of the Dangote Group) is set to launch this year. WiMAX providers in Nigeria include Direct-on-PC, Monarch Communications, Startech, Surbuban Technologies, Hyperia and Monarch Communications, each of which operate a 3.5 GHz WiMAX network
 

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None that i know of but Suburban offers WiMax in Abuja and i understand that the Lagos state government intends to deploy WiMax also. GSM, GPRS, UMTS and CDMA 2000 Rev 0 or Rev A are primarily the technologies offfered in the country.
Time to update your knowledge.
 

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So there is little in the way of Broadband from a non wireless perspective? Would Internet then be very expensive over there?
From a Western perspective, not really. But it probably would not be considered cheap for the majority of the Nigerian population, though usage keeps growing impressively. According to ITU stats, there were just over 10 million Internet users in Nigeria as of March 2008 (the most in Africa), which is small relative to the overall population (of about 140 million) but still reflects double the number of users (from about 5 million) in less than two years from ITU stats of September 2006 and 50 times the 200,000 users from 2000.

Two telecoms infrastructural projects (among others) particularly promise to help reduce Internet costs in Nigeria: (1) the just-completed Globacom's 9200km international submarine communication cable, which runs from Portugal and passes through 15 countries to reach Nigeria, and (2) the Nigerian company Main Technologies' MaiN OnE project, a broadband submarine fibre optic cable project stretching from Portugal along the western coast of Africa to South Africa, with links to several West African countries including Ghana and Nigeria.
 

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Nigeria Telecommunications Report Q1 2009


www.companiesandmarkets.com adds new report: Nigeria Telecommunications Report Q1 2009 In this latest update on Nigeria's telecommunications market, BMI has revised and extended its forecasts for the development of fixed line, internet and mobile telephony services. Our new forecasts reflect data published by leading telecoms operators, such as MTN of South Africa and Zain of Kuwait, as well by Nigeria's telecoms regulator, the NCC, which depicts the size of the market at the end of September 2008. In addition to revising our estimate for the size of Nigeria's various telecoms market segments at the end of 2008, our new forecasts have been adjusted and extended to the end of 2013.

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According to the telecoms regulator, Nigeria had 55.836mn active mobile subscribers at the end of September 2008; this is equivalent to a penetration rate of 35.5% and reflects growth of more than 38% in the first nine months of the year. Based on this performance, we estimate that Nigeria finished 2008 with a little over 62.8mn mobile customers and a penetration rate of almost 40%.

In addition to a considerably improved performance from MTN in Q308, one of the most notable developments in the final few months of 2008 was the dramatic increase in the number of CDMA mobile customers. By the end of September 2008, CDMA users represented 7.4% of Nigeria's mobile customers, up from 4% at the end of the previous quarter and 1% at the start of the year. Growth in the number of CDMA mobile customers will provide an important stimulus to Nigeria's mobile market in the months ahead. Another development with major implications for the mobile market is the arrival of increased GSM competition in the form of Etisalat Nigeria, which launched its GSM 900/1800 network in October 2008.

Our new mobile growth forecast for Nigeria envisages mobile penetration rising to over 50% in 2009. By the end of 2013, we predict that the market will have grown to over 184mn mobile customers; this is equivalent to almost 106% penetration.

Meanwhile, the growth of mobile CDMA services appears to be having a negative impact on the fixed line sector, which saw a significant loss of, mainly fixed wireless, lines in Q308. It is expected that the eventual sale of Nigeria's fixed line incumbent operator Nitel to a strategic investor will bring a new round of investment for the country's tiny fixed line market. According to indications by the Nigerian government, a public hearing will be held in February 2009 to ensure that only a company with the necessary technical and financial expertise acquires the stake. The winner is expected to gain control of Nitel, together with its mobile business M-Tel, in late May 2009.

Nigeria has moved two places up our latest set of business environment rankings for Africa. Nigeria's own score has risen partly as a result of a stronger telecoms market rating, and partly due to weaker scores for Botswana and Egypt.
tmcnet.com
 

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Discussion Starter #19
That national Nitel is spiralling into problems for the telecom industry. They should sell up the facility to interested buyer or investor. On the national properties issue, I think the management is often in very poor or corrupt hands.
 

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AfDB: Nigerian Telecoms Sector Attracted $12bn in 7 Years
06.09.2009

The Nigeria telecommunications sector, rated the fastest growing in Africa and eighth in the world, has attracted more than $12 billion into the economy in seven years, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said yesterday in Abuja.
The AfDB in its 2008/2009 annual report, Africa Economic Outlook (AEO), said the Federal Government generated revenue of about $2.5 billion over the same period.
The AfDB report said the average annual growth rate for the number of mobile and fixed line subscribers had been 125 per cent since 2000.
“The telecommunications sector attracted investment in excess of $12 billion between January 2001 and October 2008. And between 2006 and 2007 alone, foreign investment in the sector rose from $8.2 billion to $11.5 billion, a 41.1 per cent increase.
“The government has realised over $2.5 billion from spectrum auctions. import duties and taxes on telecommunications companies also contribute substantially to government revenues,'' the report said.
The report said various telecommunications operators had reported a monthly growth of 1.1 million subscribers.
“In October 2008, Nigeria’s telecommunications sector had 59 million active lines, with Africa’s highest teledensity of 42.3 per cent,'' the report added. According to the report, out of Nigeria’s 59 million active phones, only about 13 million were in the rural areas, where 80 per cent of the population resided.
To narrow this gap, according to the report, the NCC planned to offer fixed wireless access telephony licences to populations in areas that had no coverage.
“A competitive telecommunications market/industry has led to a drop in the cost of services. In 2001, subscribing to a GSM line cost N20,000.
“By the end of 2008, this figure had fallen to almost zero. The tariff for calls on the GSM network had dropped from N50 perminute in 2001 to less than N25 per minute in 2008,’’ the reportsaid.
The report pointed out that Nigeria has the most competitive ICT market in Africa, with service providers fighting for the growing market share.
``Ensuring that networks receive an optimum quality of service remains a challenge. A small network capacity has prevented operators from broadening their network fast enough to satisfy more and more subscribers,'' the report said.
According to the report, the poor telecommunications infrastructure had slowed down the rapid launch of network resources, which would otherwise improve the quality of ICT services...
Thisdayonline
 
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