The latest telecommunications operator in the country, National Communications Development and Investment Limited (Natcoms/Ntel), has disclosed that it would roll out network next month November.
Briefing the media Thursday in Lagos , the Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Mr. Kamar Abass, disclosed that Ntel would not only roll out next month but expected to play in the 4G space to address the data issue. He added that Ntel plans to roll out network in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja simultaneously.
Natcoms had acquired the defunct Nigeria Telecommunications (Nitel) and Mtel on December 3, 2014, after 13 years of failed attempts to get them sold.
Kamar, however, lamented that more than 65 million Nigerians are yet to be on the third generation (3G) platform, saying that many Nigerians are still on 2G.
According to the firm, many factors are responsible for this, including base stations and handsets, which may take up to 2020 to upgrade.
The company also disclosed that 2015 and beyond encompasses not only data but video streaming, and there is need to drive broadband penetration by creating the platform for faster internet for others who are not on board the 3G.
He said, “the power of broadband is the ability to build and invest. We can give a high level of broadband experience, which is a game changer. We are working very hard to take proper assets and maintain quality. It is quite true that the voice segment is not growing because of data and we would address the data story.”
“Our ambition is not to drive down pricing but to offer services that are encouraging. We will offer good value proposition so that we can drive the broadband market.” Kamar further disclosed that over the period of 15 years, Nigeria’s total mobile connection grew at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 51 per cent and that in the next five years, mobile broadband connections would be five times the total number of mobile broadband connections in the last nine years.
“In future, Ntel will provide fixed network services to homes and businesses where extant infrastructure can be leveraged at minimal incremental cost. We would also be playing in mobile network, International Voice Termination, International Bandwidth Delivery, Metro Bandwidth and Fixed Services. Ntel will launch a pure play 4G LTE2 mobile service. The service will offer high speed data, high-definition voice and video and the first phase network will be to have 800 numbers of sites, increasing to 2,000 sites.”
The CEO also disclosed that by 2019, the market’s bandwidth demand is expected to exceed the existing supply by 334 gigabyte per second (Gbps). An additional capacity of 200 Gbps from South Atlantic Telecommunications Cable Number 3 (SAT-3) and a planned capacity upgrade within the next year would help to meet some of the demands.
On SAT-3, he disclosed that since July 2015, Ntel has delivered 10 million IDD minutes to Nigeria and provides connectivity from Lagos to Sesimbra, Portugal and Lagos towards Cape Town and countries in between.
“Ntel also provides international bandwidth/Internet Protocol (IP) connectivity to carriers and major corporates between Nigeria and international destinations. With over 1,100km of ducts and over 4,000km of fibre route in almost all states in Nigeria, Ntel is enabled to offer fibre capacity services to all,” he said.
Ntel further stated that it is the fourth highest shareholder with a share of 6.23 per cent in SAT-3/WASC/SAFE (West African Submarine Cable. SAFE stands for South Africa Far East). The cable system began operations in 2002 with 17 landing points in 15 countries. It is Africa’s longest submarine cable covering a distance of 28,800km.
“SAT-3 has a total lit capacity of about 1,000 Gbps . The cable system is funded and owned by a consortium of 35 foremost telecoms operators from different parts of the world. With direct connectivity to 15 countries covering Europe, Asia and Africa, providing high-quality voice, video and data services, low latency supporting mission critical applications, highly stable cable infrastructure maximising availability and cost-efficent broadband access compared to satellite services.”