By Prince Osuagwu
Like the proverbial patient dog that eats the fattest bone, Mobitel Nigeria last week bounced back into the Nigerian telecoms market with one of the smartest technologies of the new era, the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards otherwise known as 4G.
Mobitel is debuting with 4G when earlier entrants came and are still operating on either 2G, 2.5G or 3G at the most.
Launching commercial operations of its 4G network in Lagos, the company said it was targeting niche markets of SMEs and high_end users.
Meanwhile the new coming of Mobitel according to its handlers had gulped a whopping $70 million even as it also targets to invest about $350 million in the next two years of operation.
The event which held at the Eko Hotels and Suites Victoria Island Lagos, attracted several dignitaries, including the former Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Engr Ernest Ndukwe.
The CEO of the company Mr Johnson Salako, while addressing the audience at the event, said the company would rely on the best customer service experience in all aspects of telecommunication service, to cut into the existing fiece competitive Nigerian telecom market.
According to him, the company would offer the best quality of service, stressing that in the areas of investment, the company had invested the sum of $70 million in the first phase of the expansion, while within the next two years it would have invested the total sum of $350 million, to cover every commercial services areas in the country.
He confirmed that Mobitel had already covered 40 per cent of Lagos, while other parts are billed to be covered by December, targeting 11 cities in 2011 and other parts of the country by end of 2012.
Salako also noted: “we are coming out now because we needed to put in place the needed infrastructure that will make us competitive.
You know, we still have infrastructural challenges among which power is a major issue. So we had to put in place measures to tackle that. Also the policy inconsistencies in the country was another issue, which, as an organisation we had to make sure we solve before coming out.”
Mobitel would be deploying latest WiMAX technology, which would later be upgraded to Long Term Evolution (LTE) to drive the market, as Salako said:
“We are keen on tackling most importantly, the issue of poor quality of service and that is why we are investing much in technology. We are very familiar with the migration of subscribers from network to network depending on the quality of service. We believe that if we offer the right services, we shall change the face of telecommunications in Nigeria. You must remember that we were here before most of those who are around today as telecommunications company. We understand the terrain and we are going to improve drastically on that”.
Corroborating him, the Chief Commercial Officer, Ms. Michele Scanlon said that Mobitel will be launching leading edge devices and services packages that push the boundary in performance terms to deliver an enhanced experience to Mobitel customers.
She added that old subscribers would be integrated into the new network through wireless service to give voice first and later, data, adding that their ADSL lines would be revived to improve the services.
The Managing Director of Skye Bank, Mr. Durotimi Etti, whose bank is providing major financial backing said, the project is a huge one that requires huge financial support and, “we at Skye Bank are giving the backing because we know the challenges on ground. If I may tell you, we also provided the seed funding for MainOne cables. For Mobitel, we trust the guys, reason why we giving 100 per cent backing and surely, we know the complexities involved in the telecommunications business.”