UGO AMADI,BUSINESS EDITOR
Despite the challenges and unpredictable operational environment witnessed by many sectors of the Nigeria economy , telecoms giant Globacom has continued to drive transformational innovation and digitalization in the telecommunications space.
As the first Nigerian multinational telecommunications company with good standing and most respected grandmaster of data, Glo was established on 29 August 2003 by Mike Adenuga, the 2nd richest black man in the world (According to Forbes 2018 ranking of the world’s billionaires,). As of June 2018, the company has employed more than 3,500 people worldwide.
With over 45 million subscribers (December 2018), making it the second largest network operator in Nigeria, Glo is a household name as subscribers expressed happiness with the performances of the company in the last 15 years of its existence.
The latest Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) report shows Globacom, towers above its competitors as the preferred data service provider in the country with an additional one million new subscribers in March 2019.
NCC which published the Internet Subscriber Data for March 2019 on its website indicated that Globacom recorded the highest subscriber growth with 950,115 new internet users consequently raising its internet subscription to 28,436,386 in March from 27,486,271 in February, 2019.
According to the commission’s report, overall internet users in Nigeria increased to 115,938,225 in March from 114,725,357 in February which is an increase of 1,212,868 new subscribers in one month. Globacom singlehandedly made over 78% of the total number.
Globacom’s lead, according to industry analysts, may not be unconnected with its reputation as the network with the widest 4G LTE coverage in the country and its consistent improvement in data services.
Interestingly, Globacom, was born to make telephony and allied services accessible and affordable to every African across all levels of society. Right from inception, the Glo brand espoused certain fundamental values such as providing world class cutting edge, up-to-the-minute technology; best value for money; never-say-die spirit and; its pride in the Nigeria heritage.
Being the first in Nigeria to offer per second billings, people gradually started swapping their SIMS to Globacom SIMS as the per second billing was seen as a cheaper option. Globacom started to grow and gain market share, just one year after it started operations, it has gained 25% market share in the telecommunications industry.
Ultimately, Globacom have continued live up to its corporate vision of building Africa’s biggest and best Telecommunications network . This is a big dream for a company that started 15 years ago. So far they are aiming towards surpassing their goal by being continuously innovative and being one of the best telecommunication services providers in Nigeria. Globacom is now present in Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin republic and Ghana.
Globacom gained its reputation of being known as a pace setter by being continuously innovative in Nigeria / Africa telecommunications industry. It has been able to differentiate itself from other mobile phone service operators by continuously being the first to introduce new product and services to its customers.
Globacom came in to the Nigeria mobile telephony market by offering per second billing and became the first in Nigeria to offer such a billing system. Before other mobile phone service providers, said it was impossible to attain such a billing system in Nigeria, till the year 2007. The Nigeria people were excited of such a bill system, as they were going to be charged based on the actual time spent. In doing this, Globacom created an impression that they understood the needs of the people and were ready to meet their needs.
In 2011, GLO became the first telecommunication company to build an $800 million high-capacity fibre-optic cable known as Glo-1, a submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria. It is the first successful submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria.
Also , Globacom was the first network in Nigeria to roll out the 4G LTE service in October, 2016, and also the first to launch a nationwide 4G LTE network, offering instant efficient broadband internet to millions of Nigerians at speeds that are several times faster than the 3G network.
However, the Group Chief Operating Officer of Globacom, Mohamed Jameel, has reconfirmed the spread of its 4G LTE service in all the 36 states of Nigeria and in over 200 tertiary institutions where students have been empowered with the fastest and most affordable data services.
Jameel explained that the 700MHz band which Glo 4G is operating on affords it better coverage and penetration, adding that “the radio propagation property of the 700MHz band enables Globacom 4G signal to travel the farthest, giving the largest coverage for any site. In effect, any city where Glo LTE is present, it covers the widest area than any other network”.
He noted that Glo 4G LTE is backed by the company’s international submarine cable, Glo 1, which has provided the much needed internet bandwidth for West Africa sub-region.
Earlier in the year, Globacom top management officials unraveled a new communication direction and technology roadmap which brought unparrelled broadband enabling digitalized future for all Nigerians. With customer empowerment at the heart of everything it does, Glo had anticipated the future and is investing in relevant technology, designing game changing products and services that provide best value to customers now and in future.
Enabling Digital Bouquet of Services and Products , Globacom’s deputy chief operating officer, Technical, Mr. Bisi Koleoso, said Nigeria’s second largest network by subscriber base, came up with seven mindboggling products and services which include: Glo Health Care, Glo Entertainment Portal, Glo TITI, Glo Mobile Money, Glo Drive, Glo Call Connect Services and World Connect.
One of the key products, Glo Health Care is a digital health assistant designed to offer Nigerians access to 300 specialised best doctors in the world directly on their phone; Access to information on common health challenges & health advice on public health: enable entire info available in audio translation in Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba; Tracking of key health parameters (BP, Sugar etc); and allows booking of appointment by video consulting on the smartphone.
He said Glo Drive addresses problems subscribers face with storing their data by offering limitless storage capacity in the cloud. It allows subscribers import from their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Dropbox or Gmail account instantly; share family memories and experiences, share digital content on social networks without the need to use credit or debit card to enhance storage.
On the other hand, Glo Entertainment Portal offers a single point of access for millions of digital entertainment content through Glo Café offering over two million local and foreign songs; over 12,000 Hollywood, Nollywood, Bollywood movies on Glo movie Café; Access to more than 10,000 games from top gaming developers across the globe; Music, comedy, sports and short videos from top music channels and more than 62 live channels on Glo Mobile TV.
Koleoso stated that the Glo Mobile Money, an agent network will hasten the drive towards a cash-light Nigerian society by enabling financial transactions on the mobile phone and extending financial inclusion to over 60 million unbanked people in the country.
For the Glo TITI, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform, it will engage customers directly and assist them to get information about data plans, prepaid plans and Value Added Service (VAS). This enables customers to choose the most convenient plan, resolve issues and ask questions 24/7 without any human interface.
He also disclosed that Glo Connect helps subscribers stay connected all the time even if the phone is switched off, has zero balance, or is out of coverage area. The next solution is the World Connect, which ensures that business executives stay connected to their offices anywhere in the world by offering them the most affordable roaming data in 60 countries with over 6.4 million wifi hotspots worldwide. The infrastructure will be available in all world airports.
Large Scale Telecom Infrastructure
As part of efforts to ensure that Nigerians have telecom quality of experience (QoE), Glo said it is investing billions of naira in modernising its network for the future 4G and 5G services. The capacity of Glo 1, its submarine cable, has been upgraded to 300G, giving huge bandwidth for mobile and Enterprise business.
Group chief technical director, Globacom, Sanjib Roy in his presentation said, “a new e-band microwave radio technology has been deployed, resulting in increase in backhaul bandwidth to 1.5 – 2gb per link. More than 1,800 BTS and equal number of NodeBs have been swapped in Lagos, Oyo, Ogun and Rivers states.
“Also, supplied and deployed are 1,000 microwaves to modernise the transmission network to IP. All these have been possible because of quick supply and effective deployment. We have also deployed more than 2,000 new generators and 6,000 new batteries to boost customer experience”, he stated, adding that work was on-going on more than 1000km of fibre routes where road construction had affected fibre cabling.
Roy said deployment of high wattage Radio Remote Units (RRU) for 3G services and multi-sector antenna had been concluded for better 3G indoor coverage, high speed data download, signal quality and network coverage. Globacom, he said is also upgrading the capacity of existing microwave links, converting TDM links to IP for 2G and 3G, and is deploying high capacity microwave back up links to increase data back haul capacity and protect traffic against fibre cut.
Roy disclosed that, Globacom, is on its bigger and better future plan. “We are using a scientific and methodical way of rolling out new sites based on feedback from regions on where the sites are needed to address customer complaints”, he stated.
As a telecom leader, Globacom, has again taken a major step to transform the ICT landscape in Nigeria with the construction of a multi-billion naira optic fibre submarine cable.The plan for the project, called Glo 2, was unveiled at a contract-signing ceremony between the national operator, Globacom, and global telecom solutions vendors, Huawei.
Giving details of the project Mr Sanjib Roy, said the submarine cable would be built along the Nigerian coast from Alpha Beach in Lagos, where Glo 1 landing station is located, to the Southern part of Nigeria. The facility will enable ultra high capacity connection to South-South Region and provide capacity to offshore oil platforms and the communities.
He stated that the Glo 2 project would boost telecommunication service delivery in the country by providing economic as well as social empowerment of the communities in oil producing regions. It will also provide high speed internet connectivity as well as digitalize oil platforms to improve productivity, upload data to remote oil platforms at the speed of light.
“Glo2 will be the first submarine cable in Nigeria to land outside Lagos as the five existing submarine cables only landed in Lagos. Glo 2 will have capacity of 12Terabit per second and will provide ultra-high speed connection to oil platforms and communities to empower data coverage and support Enterprise market growth in this part of Nigeria,” Mr Roy explained.
He also disclosed that the cable would contain three fiber pairs, with the first pair connecting Lagos directly to Southern part of Nigeria with terrestrial extension to other parts of the country for redundancy and maintenance purposes. The second will be equipped with eight switchable Branching Units (BUs) which will deliver high capacity to offshore oil stations and communities connected directly to BUs, while the third pair will be equipped with two (2) switchable Branching Units to deliver high capacity to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
Mr Li Beifang, Managing Director of Huawei Nigeria, said that Huawei is “proud to partner with Globacom to build a revolutionary submarine cable using innovative and leading technology. We believe the cable would bring a new era of digitalization to the Nigerian economy”.
A New Communication Direction
One of the major things the officials of Globacom promised Nigerians this year and which is ongoing is the series of television commercials (TVCs) encapsulating the various ideals, characters, culture and beliefs of Glo customers in the Nigerian project. Among these are the: We Got People Talking TVC; Glo Data Is Oxygen TVC; Superior Network TVC; and The Anthony Joshua TVC.
The ‘We Got People Talking’ TVC is a star-studded commercial underscoring the primacy of talk which is a distinctive attribute of human beings. It features iconic artistes like King Sunny Ade, Wizkid, Davido, Phyno, Yemi Alade, Ego Ogbaru, Bez Idakula, Sani Danja, Tekno and Van Vicker. The TVC underscores the permanence of talk despite the popularity of data.
It also emphasizes that Glo services are available everywhere, all over the world, connecting people “from Accra to Kaduna, Lagos to LA, from retail service outlets such as barber shops to boli sellers in the North, East, West and South of the globe. The song is already very popular and is expected to rise in fame because of its sing-along attribute and coterie of stars.
Oxygen Is Data TVC highlights the importance of Glo data to life and how it offers solutions to life’s challenges. It portrays Glo as empathetic to the needs of subscribers by providing cutting-edge solutions to whatever problems they are grappling with.
Overall, the Superior Network TVC chronicles the various milestones of Globacom since inception, emphasizing the company’s unique propositions. It emphasises Glo’s resolve to make telephony available, affordable and accessible in a world class manner; celebrating customer empowerment as underpinning everything the telco does. It ends with the undisputed claim that Glo is the superior network.
In one of the biggest advertising revolutions, in the world, Globacom trilled the world with the appointment of World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua as its Global Brand Ambassador.
The bricklayer-turned boxing Champion in the commercial revealed the parallels between him and Glo. Some of these include the never-say-die, can-do spirit of Globacom which undergirds and constitutes the philosophy of the telecommunications giant. “I respect the ownership and management of Globacom and as a Nigerian, I believe charity must begin from home. I believe in Glo,” he said.
Globacom has the following strategic business units: Glo mobile, Glo Broad Access, Glo Gateway and Glo-1 & 2. Glo Gateway, is Globacom’s International Wholesale Voice and Data Exchange Trading Business Unit. Its Roaming has Postpaid relationships with 532 networks in 196 countries, Prepaid connections with 219 networks in 99 countries and Data roaming relationship with 405 networks in 148 countries. GLO has the largest roaming coverage for voice and data in Africa.
Glo Gateway Carrier Business is connected to over 150 operators and Carriers in all the continents, trading billions of minutes annually. Glo Gateway has a Point of Presence (POP) in London with virtual POPs in Frankfurt, New York and Hong Kong through which seamless connectivity is provided. Glo Gateway is the biggest wholesale voice trader in West Africa with a 24/7 Network operating centre to ensure customer satisfaction at all times.
Also , Glo Broad Access is the unit responsible for laying the optic fibre network for Globacom and for offering Fixed Line services. It was launched on 24 November 2009. It offers landline telephone and unlimited broadband internet, all on a single digital wire line. As part of Glo’s ever increasing service offering, Glo Broad Access will continue to expand the metro fibre rings and pan-Nigeria fibre backbone network. It has already rolled out over 13,500 kilometres of active fibre.
Undoubtedly, Glo has continued to gather many laurels for its effectiveness in the telecommunications industry , it recently clinched the Best Customer Service Company of the Year at the third Daar Awards held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. In the same breath, the founder and chairman of the company, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr., was adjudged the winner of the Businessman of the Year award category at the impressive ceremony attended by the crème-de-la-crème of the Nigerian society.
The pioneering roles of Nigeria’s foremost telecommunications company, Globacom, in African integration was also recognised by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Recognising Globacom in a report by BCG entitled: ‘Pioneering One Africa: African Corporations Trailblazing Across the Continent,’ the nation’s leading telecoms operator was listed as one of the six African companies driving the amalgamation of economic activities within the continent.
Remarkably, a survey carried out by the Research and Intelligence unit of Business Day Media Ltd, in collaboration with Jobberman.com, rated Glo in the Top Ten Most Respected Companies in Nigeria after the company scored 157 points on all six parameters across 12 cities of the country.
Globacom was rated in the top-ten alongside other high achieving companies and rewarded at an event organized by Business Day Media Ltd tagged ” Nigeria’s Top 100 Most Respected Companies Awards” at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos
Early this year, Glo was similarly ranked amongst the top five most valuable brands in Africa. Publishers of Brand Africa which conducted the survey explained that Globacom made the list because it had “won the hearts of the communities where it has its footprint”. The report, which listed other leading African conglomerates, stated that Globacom got an impressive brand value of 655 to rank among the Top 5 brands in the continent in a list of the Top 10 Most Valuable Brands in Africa.
Nonetheless, the fully integrated telecommunications solutions provider, was one of the biggest winners at the 10th anniversary of Beacon of ICT (BoICT) Awards at the Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos.
Apart from clinching the coveted “Most Innovative Mobile Player” of the year award, the operator was also inducted into the ICT Hall of Fame in recognition of its outstanding contributions to the growth of Nigeria’s telecom industry in the last decade.
The BoICT Award was instituted in 2009 to reward individuals and corporate organisations that have helped to develop ICT in Nigeria and make life more meaningful through innovations in information technology.
The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, who presented the award to Globacom described the company as the game changer of the telecom industry.
National Telecommunications Carrier, Globacom, was adjudged one of the six most admired brands in Africa in the latest ranking by one of the continent’s most reputable business magazines, African Business.
The rankings, published in the latest edition of the London-based magazine, showed that Globacom polled a total Admiration Score of 345, placing the company as one of the six most valued brands on the continent ahead of many multinationals.
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