NIGERIA | Glo, MainOne, five others bet on Wi-Fi spectrum

NIGERIA | Glo, MainOne, five others bet on Wi-Fi spectrum

NIGERIA | Glo, MainOne, five others bet on Wi-Fi spectrum

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Globacom, Main One and five other players have secured key spectrum assets to key into the emerging Wi-Fi markets across Nigeria.

Wi-Fi is projected to be a key growth market as Nigerian mobile subscribers demand always-on connection to voice, data and video services on the move.

Technology Times review of spectrum assignments for 4.5GHz, the spectrum popularly used for Wi-Fi service shows that seven companies have been issued the spectrum by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms regulator and custodian of the valuable resource for the country.

Market trends watchers see Wi-Fi as key market opportunities as mobile operators, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other tech industry players explore new service niche and revenue streams.

Technology Times review of spectrum assignments for 4.5GHz, the spectrum popularly used for Wi-Fi service shows that seven companies have been issued the spectrum by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms regulator and custodian of the valuable resource for the country.
Technology Times review of spectrum assignments for 4.5GHz, the spectrum popularly used for Wi-Fi service shows that seven companies have been issued the spectrum by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms regulator and custodian of the valuable resource for the country.

The Nigerian spectrum assignment landscape for the 4.5GHz band also reflect this trend as big and small operators position for stakes in the Wi-Fi market.

Second National Operator, Globacom Limited; MainOne, the undersea cable company are among seven companies that have been issued the key Wi-Fi spectrum to expand footprints across parts of Nigeria.

Globacom’s 4.5GHz licence allows the SNO a full coverage of the country, a position that enhances the SNO’s capacity to spread a national Wi-Fi blanket across Nigeria.

Glo pitches its Wi-Fi as hotspot service designed to provide customers desiring fast, affordable Internet service to connect quickly and enjoy high speed Internet without necessarily being Glo subscribers.

Market trends watchers see Wi-Fi as key market opportunities as mobile operators, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other tech industry players explore new service niche and revenue streams.

Mike Adenuga Jnr, Chairman of Globacom
Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr., owner of Globacom

In what underpins the SNO’s expanding Wi-Fi service expansion, Glo says the service is currently deployed at major airports across Nigeria with Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos being the first launch. Other airports planned for subsequent launch are Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Sokoto, Calabar, Jos, Yola, Benin, Kano, Owerri and Uyo, according to Glo.

MainOne, the undersea cable company has lately been leveraging the transmission capacity of its MainOne cable to deepen its stakes in the Internet markets across Nigeria and West Africa.

MainOne is moving beyond being just an undersea cable company as its Data Centre company, MDXi recently announced a deal with the Nigerian Internet Exchange, (IXPN) to improve national transit traffic in Nigeria, following a new interconnect service for carriers, enterprises and ISPs called Open-Connect.

According to the company, Open-Connect guarantees the best cross connect services in Nigeria, enabling customers bypass the public internet and connect directly to partners, cloud and SaaS providers with secure, reliable and flexible direct connections.

With connections to Internet exchanges in Lagos, Amsterdam, London and Ghana and 50+ Points of Presence locations across West Africa, MainOne enables carriers, ISPs, content providers and enterprises of all sizes to quickly and easily increase their network footprint without investing heavily in additional infrastructure, the tech company says.

MainOne’s move into the Wi-Fi space has seen the company acquire the key 4,5GHz spectrum to cover seven Nigerian States including all the South Western States of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Ekiti and Oyo.

MainOne’s spectrum assignment also extend the company’s Wi-Fi footprint into Rivers State, one of the key Niger Delta region where the MainOne said it will extend landing point of its transatlantic undersea cable.

The tech company this year partnered the Lagos State Government to recently launch free public Wi-Fi project at parks and gardens in Lagos, the economic hub of the country.

The roll out of free public Wi-Fi in Lagos was made possible because of the investment that MainOne has made in fibre-optic infrastructure in Lagos State, the company has said while outlining plans to extend its footprint across Lagos State and Nigeria.

MainOne’s plan is also to deliver business solutions bundling Wi-Fi service with its SME-IN-A-BOX, a converged Internet and voice solution tailored specifically to meet the needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.

“The service is a simple to use, plug and play system that gives you direct and secure fibre connectivity from your office to the rest of the world. You can easily and quickly scale up bandwidth capacity up to 5Mbps. You can also increase voice lines for current and future needs, without disruption to your business operations. We take care of your telecom needs with our optional managed LAN and Wi-Fi services so you can focus on your core business”, MainOne says in a marketing pitch about the service targeting SMEs.

MainOne’s plan is also to deliver business solutions bundling Wi-Fi service with its SME-IN-A-BOX, a converged Internet and voice solution tailored specifically to meet the needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.

Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne
Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne

Meanwhile, another licensee, Tizeti, covers 13 States in Nigeria including all the six States in the South Western markets of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and Ekiti. Added to its licensing basket are Kwara, Edo, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa and Cross River States.

Tizeti Network Limited owns the wifi.com.ng brand that announced fresh funding to expand its Wi-Fi service in the Nigerian market.

The 4.5GHz licensee, Tizeti through its consumer facing brand, wifi.com.ng announced that it has closed on seed funding of $2.1 million from international investors including Western Technology Investment, Social Capital, Vy Capital, Picus Capital, Ace & Company, Lynett Capital Partners, Zeno Ventures and a number of angel investors including Y Combinator’s Michael Seibel and Gabriel Hammond.

With the fresh round of funding secured as part of this seed round, Tizeti hopes to extended Wi-Fi service across Lagos and the South-South region of Nigeria, by launching Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as scaling up mobility with the inclusion of 3,000 new public hotspots across Lagos metropolis, according to a company statement.

Steam Broadcasting & Communications Limited (Steam B&C), a member of AIM Group, a privately owned company and owners of Coollink, are not left out of the game.

Coollink says it in partnership with Facebook to launch Express Wi-Fi across different locations in Nigeria, bringing affordable, high-speed Internet across neighbourhoods in the country.

The company says its Express Wi-Fi offers a cheaper way to get onto the Internet than mobile data packs (2G/3G/4G). “Express Wi-Fi customers will be able to purchase fast, affordable data packs to access the Internet via local hotspots (Wi-Fi Fast Internet Zone)”, the company says.

Steam B&C has been assigned 4.5GHz spectrum for Abuja, the nation’s seat of government.

Coollink says it in partnership with Facebook to launch Express Wi-Fi across different locations in Nigeria, bringing affordable, high-speed Internet across neighbourhoods in the country.

Government says the licence will be opened to Nigerians and foreigners hoping to operate amateur radio and satellite services during their stay in the country.

On the other hand, Swift Networks Limited, the facilities-based telecommunications services provider and ISP is not left out in the Wi-Fi race. Swift has also secured 4.5GHz spectrum in Lagos, the key commercial market and rising megacity.

Swift Networks says it has the requisite financial and organizational resources to become the leading broadband connectivity services provider in Nigeria with funding in its kitty from foreign direct investment from The International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Investment Bank and Commonwealth Development Corporation under the Capital Alliance Private Equity II fund scheme managed by Capital Alliance Nigeria.

Another ISP in the country, Cobranet Limited, owned by the Boulos Group of Nigeria which is engaged in manufacturing and other sectors of the economy, has also secured its interest in the 4.5GHz spectrum assignments in two key States in the country, Lagos and Abuja.

Same goes for little-know Infrasset which has been assigned 4.5GHz spectrum for three States, Lagos, Abuja and Rivers.

Meanwhile, the Wi-Fi market trends have come under radar as high mobile Internet penetration rates in Nigeria and several African markets continue to offer huge opportunities for Wi-Fi vendors on the continent.

Analysis from Frost & Sullivan, “Strategic Analysis of Public Wi-Fi in Sub-Saharan Africa” finds that there are market opportunities for public Wi-Fi in Nigeria and other markets in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Frost & Sullivan, the exponential rise in the number of Internet users and overall broadband services is paving the way for the public Wi-Fi market in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Despite investments in 3G and 4G networks, service providers are expected to rely on Wi-Fi to offload some of the data, especially in megacities where networks face heavy mobile traffic congestion.”

Mobile phone users seen at a tech event in Abuja
Mobile phone users seen at a tech event in Abuja

“Despite investments in 3G and 4G networks, service providers are expected to rely on Wi-Fi to offload some of the data, especially in megacities where networks face heavy mobile traffic congestion”, according to the report which spotted that high mobile Internet penetration rates in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya offer huge opportunities for Wi-Fi vendors.

“The evolution of several megacities into smart cities in Sub-Saharan Africa is laying the foundation for the adoption of smart building and smart grid solutions across the continent,” Lehlohonolo Mokenela, Frost & Sullivan Information & Communication Technologies Research Analyst.

“As a result, device manufacturers are focusing on the development of Wi-Fi enabled devices for use in smart solutions, quickening the march towards greater Wi-Fi penetration.”

Traditionally, Internet service providers and specialist Wi-Fi providers have dominated the deployment of Wi-Fi hotspots in Sub-Saharan Africa, while mobile operators have previously avoided migration due to concerns of it cannibalising mobile data revenues, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Technology Times Reports News and reports from Technology Times Newsroom

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