Ntel, the new telecoms brand rising out of the privatised Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), will today launch commercial service, breaking the jinx over the nation’s pioneer National Operator.
Ntel’s market rebound will see the telecoms company owned by NatCom Development & Investment Ltd. (NatCom), the Nigerian consortium that bought the liquidated NITEL, launching an advanced mobile network offering the triple services of voice, data and video.
At a ceremony billed to hold in Ikoyi Lagos today, the self-styled “Nigeria’s most revolutionary telecommunications company”, Ntel will be opening its 4G LTE Advanced network service on the ‘0804’ numbering range for commercial uptake by telecoms consumers nationwide.
Ntel says that its new entrant 4G LTE network “delivers superfast call-connect times, crystal clear Voice over LTE and extraordinarily high internet access speed (up to 230Mbps).”[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”right” bgcolor=”#” color=”#” bcolor=”#” arrow=”yes”]Under its market rebound plan, NatCom says its Ntel brand is currently limited to three of Nigeria’s largest commercial cities: Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt as “there are already plans in motion to expand to more cities and meet our projected coverage of 85% of mobile broadband spending within 3 years and about 95% within 5 years.”[/quote]
Amid initial teething problems that the telecoms new entrant, Ntel has faced particularly on the regulatory front, today’s commercial rollout marks a defining moment in Nigeria’s telecoms history as the nation’s pioneer operator bounces back.
Series of botched attempts to sell NITEL, and its sister mobile business unit, MTel, has seen the duo move from market laggards into outright dormancy as their privately-run rivals redefined the Nigerian telecoms space with innovative services.
The fortune of the NITEL and Mtel were to change in May last year when the liquidation process was successfully completed some NiTel/MTel core assets wholly transferred to NatCom, the consortium that closed the asset sales deal with the Federal Government of Nigeria. The liquidation process supervised and approved by Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and a court-appointed liquidator.
Following the successful transfer of ownership, NatCom was to become the owners of several core assets of NITEL/Mtel including the duo’s Operating Licenses bundling the National Carrier, International Gateway and Mobile licences.
Also part of the package is the frequency spectrum on the cellular bands on 900/1800/1900 MHz and shared microwave.
NatCom also now owns the International Connectivity business segment of the pioneer telecoms company as well as a share of the SAT-3/WASC/SAFE submarine cable system and full ownership of the Lagos Cable Landing Station of the undersea cable link.
Also the company now has the local Local Connectivity segment comprising Metro-fibre ducts and intercity fibre rights-of-way.
Under the deal with BPE, Natcom’s deal also comes bundled with the telecoms company’s Infrastructure business unit comprising Tower sites, telephone exchanges and satellite earth stations.
“Our aim is to redefine the Nigerian telecommunications landscape and enrich the lives of Nigerians by delivering the most advanced communications technology across the largest possible network coverage in the most effective, valuable and satisfying manner”, Natcom was to pitch to the market following the conclusion of the NITEL deal.
According to NatCom, “we firmly believe that by delivering superb and unparalleled broadband-based mobile services, we can help individuals and enterprises harness the power of connectivity and maximise their potentials.”
Under its market rebound plan, NatCom says its Ntel brand is currently limited to three of Nigeria’s largest commercial cities: Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt as “there are already plans in motion to expand to more cities and meet our projected coverage of 85% of mobile broadband spending within 3 years and about 95% within 5 years.”
On Monday, January 18, 2016, Ntel initiated a new beginning in Nigeria’s telecoms industry by making its first on-net test data call in Lagos, the company says.
“This landmark event was followed by the first Voice over LTE (VoLTE) call in Lagos on Thursday, February 25, 2016 achieved in partnership with Original Equipment Manufacturers, Ericsson of Sweden and Sony Mobile of Japan. Since then, further VoLTE calls have been successfully completed with Samsung Electronics of South Korea, ZTE of China and Tecno of Nigeria”, the telecoms company says.
Ntel says its LTE Advanced network is designed on 900/1800 Mhz frequency bands which, in combination with Carrier Aggregation and Multiple Antennae (4X4) technology, enable maximum and average throughput rates of 230Mbps and 60Mbps respectively.
“Our ‘total telecoms’ approach to service delivery affords us 360-degree touchpoints to cater to our customers’ needs.”
Under the plan, Ntel says it is offering National Bandwidth that provides capacity and dark-fibre on its network of 1,100km metro-fibre ducts across six major cities and 4,000km of inter-city fibre rights-of-way;
According to Ntel, its International Voice Termination service also enables direct exchange of Nigeria-bound or originating IDD traffic with regional and global partners over SAT-3, its undersea cable link.
Its International Bandwidth also lets Ntel offer the direct exchange of international bandwidth and IP connectivity with global carriers and major corporates between Nigeria and international destinations.
Ntel believes that its Mobile Network Services offered on LTE Advanced mobile services will position the company to offer Voice over LTE (VoLTE), high-speed Internet access, messaging and video services.
On the other hand, its Fixed Network Services business will provide fixed line telecoms services across voice, high-speed Internet access and messaging, to homes and businesses in Nigeria’s key cities and towns.