Engineer I.A. Mohammed is the Managing Director, Globaltouch West Africa Limited, aÂ formerÂ Executive Director ofÂ Nitel. He was withÂ NCC in 1999 andÂ leftÂ in 2001. Since then, he was involved in startingÂ hisÂ own company and takingÂ it to greater heights.
Whatâ€™s Globaltouch all about?
Globatouch is licensed by NCC to provide trans-border communication,Â and it stands for Global Transmobile Communication by Satellite. We have got a Gateway in Kaduna which has been completed and gone into service since November last year.
Our Gateway charges a low out profit satellite of global star and the constellation is about 48 satellites and the footprint of the Gateway covers the whole Nigeria and West Africa and most especially our oil rich areas offshore. We provide date to services, which is what we do at the moment for retracking assets moving and unmovable and then later this year, weÂ can go into the global full world and what we call duplex data. At the moment, weâ€™re providing seamless data.
Whatâ€™s your motivation for investing in satellite communication?
Iâ€™ve been into communication all my life. Itâ€™s a field I have experienceÂ in. I donâ€™t know any other thing in my life. Two, itâ€™s a kind of service which is a challenging one. Weâ€™re the first Gateway in Africa to be providing trans-mobile. At the moment,weÂ have 24 Gateways around the whole world, basically the whole world is covered.
How do government policies affect operators?
NCC has done a good job liberalising communications like GSM exposure.Itâ€™s quite favourable because any entrant can come and obtain license and start operations.So in that sense, governance has to come because we need a lot of catching up because we completely understand communication in this country.
Can you forecast the future of the company in ten years time?
Certainly, because as I told you, weâ€™re going into full voice and the life time of a second generation satellite is 15 years. So, when they comeÂ into serviceÂ this year, that is 15 yearsÂ life time, within that time, weâ€™re going to be in business all the time with the aim of satisfying our customers.
What are your major challenges since you left Nitel for Globaltouch?
One is challenges of power which everybody knows. Weâ€™ve to generate our own power. We have to import allÂ equipment for effective operation. Another challenge is getting skilled manpower for work. Weâ€™re actually training our engineers, marketers to understand this business and extend it to the global inclines.
Whatâ€™s your strategy to en sure that the company remains on top among its co-competitors?
At the moment, our competitorsÂ are other satellite companies which we have and they are all foreign based.
One is in Texas, the other in Dubai, so when youâ€™re making a call, you have to be routed through a foreign country which is one advantage we have. Most importantly, we can respond to customersâ€™ need, because weâ€™re around the corner. So, we can rely wholly on our Nigerian customers.
What is your advice to new entrants in the industry?
Nigerians understand communication. We the population of Nigeria,Â welcome new entrants. The challenges are there for them to face. Itâ€™s for them to do what they can especially in this difficult environment and see how they can succeed.