Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
ntel has said that it will explore national roaming as a strategy to achieve nationwide coverage of true broadband deployment offered by its network.
The Chief Executive Officer, ntel, Mr Ernest Akinlola stated this when the Nigerian Information Technology Reporter Association, NITRA hosted him at a Breakfast Meeting with the CEO on Friday.
According to him, ntel planned to embark on national roaming rollout by second quarter of 2018 by leveraging on collaborations with 9Mobile and MTN.
He said the initiative was to offer ntel’s subscribers a network offering 4G/LTE as well as 3G and 2G services.
Akinlola noted that in repositioning ntel for growth, there is need to have a national roaming service that will push the network forward.
He added that ntel hopes to expand to all parts of the country, adding that the company could achieve that by taking advantage of existing infrastructure by keying into it through shared services.
Akinola said, “We have plans to be in 10 to 20 states in the next 18 months.”
ntel currently operate in 3 states: Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt.
With ntel’s current coverage, projected to an estimated 10.6m people across three major cities, ntel is positioned already to capture a sizeable number of current 3G and 4G users, the company said.
“ntel is growing at more than twice the speed it grew in 2017: 167% compounded average growth in customer numbers between October 2017 and February 2018. We have recorded 50% overall growth between October 2017 and February 2018.”
The ntel CEO added that the collaboration with the two network was as a result of the complementary skills and robust customer service that would be utilised by parties involved.
He said, “National roaming will help us accelerate custom acquisition. The partnership with 9mobile who have 2G/3G and then combined with our 4G will help customers enjoy the best data with good speed. It will help the network operators to become efficient and have less costing with the roll-out in 4G,” he explained.
He listed some of the benefits attached to rolling out of a national roaming service as; immediate coverage parity, service backward compatibility of 4G to 3G and 2G, handset compatibility and speed to scale.
Akinola explained that ntel has developed a broadband philosophy to leverage on existing equipment that are on ground in delivering best values to its subscribers.
As part of efforts towards enriching customers experience on ntel network, the CEO said the company has partnered with various companies such as Nokia, Samsung, Motorola for good available 5G LTE device that would push connectivity.
Akinlola listed some of the key driver to the growth of ntel as; customers scale above the line, marketing that helps keep customers engaged for them not be redundant, customer value management.
Others he listed as, increased smartphone support, rapid channel expansion drive and VAS revenue drive which had to do with enabling the ecosystem, young entrepreneurs to use the network.
He said that the buying of Nigeria Telecommunications Ltd, (NITEL) came with properties such as the SAT 3 and it would be utilised or even sold to Internet Service Providers to make an impact.
He said that projecting forward, ntel would expand its national coverage, network resilience and commercial expansion.
“ntel coverage is 72 per cent in Lagos, 92 per cent in Abuja and 60 per cent in Port Harcourt, also between 18 to 24 months, coverage will be in 20 states.
“There will be flooding of recharge card vouchers as from next week,” he said.
The Chairman, NITRA, Mr. Emma Okonji in his welcome address said the IT reporters’ decision host to ntel was to understand the operator’s plans for the subscribers and market penetration strategies.
According to him, the NITRA’s Breakfast Meeting with CEO is a platform provided by the journalists association to engage critical players in the industry especially, top Managers to discuss issues affecting their operations.