By Ebere Wabara
AS Globacom marked its 16th anniversary Thursday, August 29, having been founded by my inimitable benefactor, Dr. Mike Adenuga, Jr., (GCON), on August 29, 2003, the pre-eminent extrication that will eternally remain in Nigerians’ consciousness is the indelible demystification of the exploitative, aristocratic and elitist togas that shrouded telephony in this part of the world under the midwifery of South Africa’s major outpost in Nigeria, MTN, before Dr. Adenuga, Jnr. intervened in a manner that typifies a revolution via the historic per-second billing platform.
ALSO READ: SERAP, BudgIT, EiE, others sue Senate over plan to spend N5.5bn on cars
This multi-national carrier delivers a quintessential bouquet of pre-paid options, roaming, fixed line network, IP wholesale and IP transit, international private leased circuit, global origination and termination, and value added services to its exponential clientele. The wireless company also provides Blackberry business solutions; bandwidth services, which compose of leased circuits over OFC, Microwave, and VSAT to various destinations; leased line solution for enterprises; data services, which comprise a range of connectivity and applications, such as international SMS, GPRS, and consulting services for businesses. Additionally, it operates a chain of retail and service outlets, serves carriers, GSM, CDMA, Wimax operators, Internet service providers, corporate customers, content providers, and application service providers. It also has a point of presence and an international traffic hub in London.
In the past 16 years, apart from 2003 when this unique and unrivalled brand was launched, 2008 was another critical year as it was the period it took a monumental step towards realizing its vision of being the biggest and best telecommunications company in Africa when it embarked on the Glo 1 multi-billion naira catalytic submarine cable project. As the indisputable market leading mobile service provider in Nigeria, it is concomitantly one of the fastest-growing ubiquitous communications promoters in the world—a flourishing network reputation that is acclaimed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in its evaluative interventions.
Sometime in 2010, it rewrote history, for the second time round, when it became the first to build an international submarine cable that cost $800 million with its own exclusive resources, thus making it the first successful submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria and equally the first individual African company to embark on such a gargantuan project. According to Dr. Adenuga, the ultra-capacity cable connects Africa to Europe and America. By virtue of this, Globacom has taken a huge step to make the magical possibilities of broadband accessible to Africa. The implication of this is that the facility will bring unprecedented prosperity to this continent. Already, there are confirmatory feedbacks from even the global community amid a superfluity of regional and domestic testimonies.
Glo, in 2009, acquired submarine cable-landing rights and international gateway services in Cote d’ Ivoire. These add to existing units: Glo Mobile, Glo Gateway, Broad Access and Glo 1 Submarine Cable. In the same year, it assumed the official sponsorship of the best and richest club in the world, Manchester United, which is the club I support, for life, by the way.
Talking of sponsorships, Glo had at various times and with some currency sponsored the CAF African Player of the Year Award, Nigerian Premier League, Nigerian National Football Teams, Nigerian Football Federation, Glo International Half Marathon, Eyo, Ojude Oba and Eleghe festivals, among a multiplicity of others that space constraint will not allow to be listed here.
In this 16th anniversary article, apart from the characteristic prefatory note, the columnist will dwell on the spiraling accomplishments of the national carrier in the past 16 years and a prognosis ultimately. This approach is informed essentially by its superlative performance over the years.
The triumphal entry of Globacom into the Nigerian telecoms space on August 29, 2003, was passionately received with an overflow of nationalistic emotions because that was the preface to indigenization in that sector in the country’s evolutionary profile. At the outset, not many people believed in the growth and sustainability of this telephonic initiative.
Ever since its advent, it has carried on like a Trojan in bullish fervor as if it were the first network to arrive in Nigeria! The passion with which Nigerians are intensely attached to the Glo brand is so stupendously emotive that one would think it was a government–owned network on a take–over bid of foreign-parented competition.
The exploratory step by multi-billionaire and entrepreneurial colossus, Dr. Adenuga, has shown that with a passion for our conviction there are no challenges that can be insurmountable. About this time in 2003 it looked as if Glo would just be another Nigerian industrialist’s pipe-dream! Not even teething bottlenecks could dissuade the trailblazer, who has a harvest of “firsts” in this sphere.
In pursuit of its vision of becoming the largest and most successful telecom network in Africa, the national carrier has taken its conventional unprecedented service to Cotonou, Porto Novo, Abomey and Parakou in the Republic of Benin. On the trail of this was the licence from Ghana which empowered Glo to set up shops in Accra and other cities in the West Coast country. Once it kicked off its operations in Ghana, the Glo facility berthed magnificently in Togo and other cities, including the remote areas. The commitment has a lot of panache because of the promoter’s avowals on warehousing this unique channel of communication in the region and on the continent.
By virtue of its service threshold and customer-centric pathos, Glo is strategically exporting its trail-blazing quality service that has characterized its Nigerian operations via state-of-the-art technology, world–class communicative platforms, superb network infrastructure and superior technical competency to other transnational strategic business outlets.
From all indications, the year 2008, when it clocked five years, was a trail-blazing one for Globacom, which, in its tradition, introduced sectoral novelties. That was the year it pioneered the 3G office tool which has revolutionized the corporate world with borderless facilitation of job execution in non-office environments. The wireless nature of this instrumentality and its compactness make it a compulsory accessory for all upwardly mobile persons. It is indeed an indispensable companion for external office environments. Of course, the 3G wonder has since metamorphosed to 4G in its indispensability as the oxygen of life.
It is on record that Glo remains the first and only home-grown telecommunications institution in Nigeria to commission a network in the Republic of Benin and also the first-ever foreign institution to take over the exclusive sponsorship of Ghana’s football league.
As part of its nationwide infrastructural build-up, Glo in 2008 set up its optic fibre cable backbone in Umuahia, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Onitsha, and Eket. Most other cities had earlier been linked to the information superhighway.
Equally in 2008 Globacom became the first network in Nigeria to set up a home zone advantage even though it was operationally restricted to commercial users. On the heels of this novelty, it also launched a time zone edge thereby effectively reducing call tariff by up to 95 per cent. Of course, running of the continent’s first submarine optic fibre cable by Globacom has since been completed which make all these developments seamless and inimitably cheap.
The telecoms giant in 2007 intensified its facility expansion efforts in order to sustain its customer-centric focus. The continuous re-engineering takes into consideration the multifarious service desires of its increasing clientele, with a subscription base now actively—take note of this—standing at approximately 40 million as at last month.
Industry pundits consensually declare that the ultimate goal of this national telecommunications giant is to take service excellence to the gadgets of customers with more than 200 Glo World outlets already functional and new ones on the drawing board. In the weeks ahead, the company will unveil a bouquet of unprecedented products and services that will see patrons of the network becoming more satisfied in a profundity of appreciation of their demonstration of undivided loyalty to this robust brand.
Already there are so many value–added services which Globacom’s customers are enjoying: per second billing (PSB), 3.5G, Blackberry Solutions, massive coverage within and outside Nigerian shores, Pre-Paid Roaming, M–Banking, Multi-media Messaging Service (MMS), Voice Short Messaging Service and caller tunes which keep endearing the network to an increasing number of patrons.
A pan–African telecommunications firm with tentacles rapidly spreading in borderless frequency, Globacom has in 16 profound years become the fastest-growing GSM outfit on the continent. This developmental stride is attributable to its teeming subscribers whose satisfaction with the network essentially translates to a swell in patronage. In other words, it is a function of the optimality of service threshold.
With regard to rural telephony, Globacom is rendering service to all nooks and crannies with its outlets being launched in various parts of the country on a regular basis, much to the suffocation of its rivals, one of which is promising to give out a brand new aircraft in another grand deception that clearly undermines our value system—all in the name of marketing! After this gimmick, the next deceitful promise will be resurrection of customers!
I take off my celebratory hat to Dr. Adenuga, Jnr. on this 16th anniversary of this brand architectural plenipotentiary as our Globacom family continues to rule the telecoms space in Africa—and shortly the world! The entrepreneurial lesson from Mr. Chairman, who fondly doubles as ‘The Bull’ and ‘The Guru’, is never you circumscribe your potentialities and possibilities. I join the over-7,000 global employees of this pace-setter in popping Champagne in a toast to Globacom at 16! Please, join me in screaming 16 reverberating gbosas for our national pride and icon!