By Emeka Aginam
Roaming services among Commonwealth countries will now be affordable as the Board of Directors of the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organization, ( CTO) ventures at their inaugural meeting held recently in the United Kingdom endorsed the launch of a low-cost `borderless Commonwealth’ mobile data roaming service for its member countries and beyond.
CTO Ventures is a commercial subsidiary of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) initiated to develop, expand and enhance CTO’s existing operations to facilitate transactional business opportunities in member countries and beyond.
The CTO-V’s Chairman, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah who spoke during the launch said that, “This is yet another contribution of the CTO to the development of ICT. With a focus to complement member countries’ ICT requirements and growth, this service will provide cheap, fast and sustainable telco communication solutions to both, the business and leisure travelers. Moreover, with globalization and the constant need to move from one country to another this offering will bring much ease and convenience to people looking to stay in touch and avoid communication gaps.”
For Stressing the CTO-V’s CEO, Mr. Bashir Patel s who spoke on a “borderless society”, he said that, “From a thorough investigation of the telco scene regarding roaming data services to frequent travelers, adding that it is obvious that there are distinct needs of travellers, which may include web access, email service, high bandwidth for a variety of office and home applications, security and social networking applications.
With the available alternatives such as roaming services provided by traditional MNOs being very expensive or having limited coverage, features or capacity, coupled with the forecasted growth in travel and tourism, he informed that the CTO-V will provide cost-effective borderless services to one and all.”
The CTO-V portfolio of services will initially cover fifteen key markets spanning over four continents; North America, Asia-Pacific region, Europe and Africa, but will later go on to expand other Commonwealth regions and the world.
The CTO-V Board of Directors is made up of the Chairman, the CTO-V CEO, the CTO CEO and regionally-based non-executive directors for specific geo-political regions.
The inaugural meeting, held in London on 27 July, 2011, was attended by Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, CTO-V Chairman and CTO CEO; Mr. Bashir Patel, CTO-V CEO and CTO COO; Dr. Robert Horton, CTO-V Board member, former Chairman of the Australia Communications Commission, and now CTO Ambassador for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific regions; Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, CTO-V board member, Chairman of the Openmedia Group, among others.
The meeting enabled participants to discuss among other things future projects including Cell Broadcasting, Commonwealth Cloud Platform and Broadband Network Deployment in some of the members countries
The CTO is an inter-governmental organization which provides technical assistance services to its member countries through research and studies, consultancies and advisory services, capacity building and training workshops, and through knowledge-sharing events. With a history dating back to 1901, the CTO is a partnership between the Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth governments, regulators, businesses, civil society organizations and other ICT stakeholders. The CTO’s mission is to reduce global poverty through the more efficient utilization of ICTs, and its development agenda reflects the priorities set in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).