Globacom, Nigeria’s second national operator will be 13 years in the country’s telecoms sector on August 29. BODE ADEWUMI traces the history of the emergence of this octopus in Nigeria’s telecoms sector and how it has impacted positively on the sector and in the lives of Nigerians as well as other subscribers to telecoms services in the past 13 years since it commenced services on August 29, 2003.
The success story of Globacom in the country is known to all and sundry, but what many may not really know is that it boils down to a relentless hard work and a focus-driven leadership with eyes on perfection and continued innovations and a passion for the best.
These attributes came to the fore very early in the life of the company and in the telecoms sector when Glo introduced the Per Second Billing which many Nigerians were made to believe could never happen. Shortly after, it crashed the price the SIM card to just N1 at a time other companies were selling at exorbitant prices. It is on record that it was Glo that made a lot of Nigerians, particularly low income earners as well as artisans and many others, owners of mobile lines in the early days of the advent of the Global System of Mobile communications (GSM) in the country.
Of course, only a few would have failed to follow the story of Globacom and how it has continued to spread the good news in the sector in the last thirteen years and how this has turned into bounty rewards for subscribers alike.
A quick reminder here shows that Glo positioned itself as the most innovative telecoms company in the market. The company had enough grounds to lay claim to that positioning as it came into the market with a 2.5G, GPRS network, while others were running on the legacy 2G infrastructure.
With this, Globacom could provide value added services like M-banking, text2email, Magic Plus, Multimedia Messaging Service, vehicle tracking, among other avant garde and revolutionary services that others could not offer. Instantly, it imbued Nigerians with a sense of immense pride. A home-grown company had risen to liberate its people.
The emergence of Globacom tickled and added fun to subscribers’ daily network experience. The launch of the Blackberry in 2006 was a game-changing move that gave the network a golden gilt edge.
The network continued to blaze the trail and went on to launch the 3G network. The other networks eventually followed suit as they also launched both the Blackberry and 3G services. The era of 3G communication saw the explosion of data-based telecommunication and mobile internet services.
However, one barrier existed between the subscriber and this modern and vast resource – cost. While the bandwidth was available, customers often could not afford the cost of many services over the World Wide Web. Audio streaming, not to mention video streaming or heavy data usage for most internet data users was out of the question.
Not many data customers could afford to buy up to 1 Gigabyte of data bundle. Many depended on small plans that gave 100 or 200 Megabyte and at most 500 megabytes.
Then Globacom stepped in with Glo-1 in 2010. The infrastructure addressed the inadequacy of SAT-3 that could not guarantee the required speed and capacity for the emerging bandwidth demands of Africa. The landing of Glo1 translated into much faster and more robust connectivity for voice, data and video. This development and the launch of other submarine cables like Main One made bandwidth available and facilitated a drastic fall in the cost of doing data/Internet services.
Globacom led the way to liberalise access to data, thereby making not only fast internet connection available, but also making such services pocket-friendly. Innovation and service quality have been the motivator of Globacom’s growth in the sector. Last year, Globacom invested huge resources to significantly upgrade its data network.
The network upgrade ranged from massive integrations of thousands of Node Bs to the nationwide network infrastructure to the upgrading of many sites from 2.5G to 3G, making the Globacom network the largest 3G network in Nigeria. The upgrade was complemented by Globacom’s 20,000 km nationwide optic fibre infrastructure seamlessly linked to the Glo 1 international submarine cable which connects Nigeria to Europe, America and the rest of the world. The result has been a much better service quality and reliable connectivity.
To cap it all, the company recently introduced a new plan tagged, Data Overload, with subscribers to the network receiving up to double the data volume previously available on every plan.
A breakdown of the offer shows that the N1, 000 plans which used to give the subscriber 1.5GB of data now gives 2GB, while the N2, 000 plan which hitherto came with 3GB of data now has 6GB data.
Similarly, subscribers will now get 10GB of data for N2, 500 plans instead of 5GB and 12GB for N3, 000 instead of 6GB data which the plan offered before.
For the N4,000 data plan, the subscriber will now get 18GB instead of the old 9GB, while the N5,000 subscription will give the customer 24GB.
The biggest offer is the N8, 000 subscriptions which, instead of the old 24GB, now gives the customer a whopping 48GB of data.The new Data Overload is currently the most attractive in the market as no operator offers anything near it.
Little wonder then that Globacom is the leader in the data sector of the industry just as the telecommunications industry report for the first quarter of 2016 indicated that the next generation network has strengthened its position as Nigeria’s preferred network for new data subscribers.
In the report covering the first three months of the year just released by industry regulator, Globacom recorded an additional 1,448,354 new internet subscribers on its network during the period. The figure is made up of 354,178 for January, 248,593 for February and 845,583 for the month of March. Globacom’s total internet customers at the end of the quarter stood at 26,530,420.
Again, Globacom beats other operators to the top position in the segment of acquisition of new internet subscribers in the month of June. This was conveyed in the latest figures released by the industry regulator for the month of June.
According to the figures, Globacom ended the month of June with a total of 26,628,065 internet subscribers up from 26,355,391 in May. This showed that the operator added a total of 272,674 new subscribers during the month. The figure represents a remarkable improvement from the total number of subscribers gained between April and May. Glo recorded 49,124 new subscribers in April.
The closest operator to Globacom had 45,334 new internet subscribers by recording a total of 17,325,423 subscribers in June, up from 17,280,089 recorded in May.
The coronation of Globacom as the data master in Nigeria has taken years of preparations and tonnes of investments. From all indications, the 2015 trend set by Globacom in the data market will continue in 2016 as the January figures have shown. Rather than relenting, Globacom is digging deep as it has firmed up all arrangements to launch Nigeria’s first nationwide 4G LTE, a further improvement on 3G.
Also in the voice segment, the company’s movement has been meteoric as available statistics shows that the operator has emerged the first choice of subscribers in voice services. The company recorded 68 per cent of all additional GSM lines in the country in the last 12 months.
Telecoms industry statistics published on the website of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that a total of 7,477,977 new lines were activated between June 2015 and June 2016, with Globacom recording a whopping 5,063,895 new subscribers, representing 68 per cent, while others followed.
Details of the NCC report showed that, with the feat achieved by Globacom, the data grandmaster has now grown its market share from 21 per cent to 24 per cent with 36.3m subscribers by the end of June, 2016. Globacom has also emerged the most generous of all networks in the country and this may have earned it millions of customers apart from quality network services.
For instance, the operator has been offering new prepaid subscribers eight times recharge value with ‘Glo Jollific8” (Jollificate), a tariff plan specially designed to give new prepaid customers eight times more value on every recharge made on the company’s network.
‘Glo Jollific8,’ which offers the subscriber eight times more value on every recharge from N100 and above, also gives additional benefits including access to call all local networks, browse, upload, download and stream internet content freely. It also gives subscribers free data that can be gifted to other subscribers.
Some subscribers who bared their minds on the array of superb services and the reliability of Globacom in every segment of the industry reveal the simple reasons why the operator has become the darling of subscribers.
Alhaji Opeyemi Aminu, an engineer in Lagos, commended Glo data services. “I ported from another network to Glo a few months ago because of my dissatisfaction with my previous service provider. I am now enjoying my internet services with Glo. The speed is fast and the connectivity is steady and reliable.
“Both in my house at Arepo and the office in Maryland, the Glo voice and data service is fantastic. I used to complain a lot about my former network provider, but since I ported to Glo I have nothing to complain about any more,” he told newsmen in Lagos recently. In the South-South part of the country, the response is the same. Samson Pepple, a school principal in Onne, Rivers State, said, “I enjoy the Glo tariff more, compared to competition”. He also encourages his staff to use Glo data packs because they are “the best when it comes to data offering.”
Also, the Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, recently commended Globacom for liberalising the country’s telecommunications space.
The minister, who made the remarks when he paid a courtesy call on the management of the company at the Mike Adenuga Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos, recently said the company revolutionised telecoms services in the country by making GSM services available to the vast majority of Nigerians.
At 13, the sky remains the limit for this pace setter in the telecoms sector where it is currently leading the pack with innovations and quality services.