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allAfrica.com: Nigeria: Glo-Shell Partnership – a Marriage of Two Giants

This Day (Lagos)
Posted to the web 9 August 2007
Modupe Thomas

Even while complaints rage on over the quality of telecommunication services offered by the GSM operators in the country, cheery news came from one of the service providers. Last month in Lagos , two of Nigeria ‘s leading companies, one a telecommunications operator, the other an oil producing firm, came together in what has been described as one of the most symbolic business partnerships in the country.

The companies, Nigeria’s premier oil producing company, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), and Second National Operator, Globacom, signed contract papers at the Mike Adenuga Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos, signaling the commencement of a ten-year relationship with Globacom as Shell’s telecommunications services provider. As part of the arrangement, Globacom will provide telecom infrastructure including Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) and microwaves, voice and data transmission services, bulk SMS service, international telecommunications and value added services such as Blackberry and Vehicle Tracking services.
 
The Chief Operating Officer of Globacom, Mohamed Jameel, who disclosed details of the partnership to newsmen, said Globacom would supply Blackberry, SIMs and other facilities for SPDC staff for local and international calls, direct connect, international roaming, including inbound and outbound, as well as SMS service and application.Globacom will also supply and install for SPDC seventy-five BTSs and one micro station along with supporting infrastructure such as battery banks.

Other facilities to be provided by Globacom under the agreement are 19 microwaves, 200 mobile open channel units and all other required telecoms hardware.Value added services to be offered by Globacom, Jameel stated, include VDO-300 vehicle tracking system, 1,000 units of Blackberry, 1,200 vehicle-tracking units and the Glo General Packet Radio Services (GPRS).Industry watchers view the elaborate telecom contract as a development which signals a vote of confidence in Globacom in the midst of subscriber disenchantment with GSM operators.SPDC Director of Business Development, Mr. ‘Demola Adeyemi-Bero, who signed the contract on behalf of the oil company, said Globacom was chosen after an intensive tendering process which lasted over two years.

He explained that the enviable track record which the Second National Operator has established in the telecom industry within four years of business gave it the edge.He stated that Shell was won over by the network’s deep coverage of the country, commitment to quality services, professionalism, efficiency and aggressive business disposition. “The partnership is a marriage of two giants in their respective fields. Information and communications technology is key in oil and gas business.

In the past, Shell had to set up and manage its own telecom infrastructure and services. Now, we have decided to contract this requirement out to enable us concentrate on our core business,” Adeyemi-Bero noted.He then offered further insight into what gave Globacom an advantage over other operators who took part in the bid:”We wanted to work with a true professional. We needed a company that has coverage in the remote parts of the country including the Niger Delta, a company with vision. And Glo is that company,” he noted.The Shell contract is one more vote for the ability of Globacom to deliver. As its COO noted, SPDC, being a world-class institution, cannot settle for anything less than world-class telecommunication services. That Globacom won the contract confirms its rating as the leader in innovativeness and service quality in Nigeria .

Globacom has not only made telephony accessible but also completely changed the way of doing business in Nigeria . It has more than any other company continued to play the role of a catalyst for social and economic development not only in Nigeria but also in Africa . One of the key requirements for the Shell job was network coverage. Although Globacom is barely four years old, it has covered most parts of Nigeria , including the creeks of Niger Delta where Shell operates.

Through its value added services, Globacom has brought to Nigerians the benefits of modern technological innovations. The telephone handset now serves a whole range of purpose including internet surfing, emails, multimedia messaging, vehicle tracking, mobile banking and accessing Microsoft Outlook as well as video conferencing which Glo subscribers will soon be able to enjoy. Globacom has also concluded plans to launch the 3G network, making it the second time that the network has been in the forefront of pioneering the latest transmission network in Nigeria , having introduced the 2.5G technology at launch in 2003 when other operators were running on the 2G platform.

Already, it is on record that Globacom was the first of all the GSM companies, to publicly demonstrate its 3G capabilities.The 3G technology which enables a much faster transmission of data, voice, broadband internet and multimedia services over a range of frequencies will allow customers to do video call, video streaming and high-speed mobile internet access from their 3G mobile handset. It also offers other advanced mobile services such as Phone to Phone Video Telephony, Video Greeting Kiosk and Video Mail Box, Phone to Fixed PC Video Telephony, Fixed PC to Phone Video Telephony and Video Conferencing on both Phones and PCs.Globacom recently signed a contract with Alcatel-Lucent to install West Africa ‘s first wireless network based on Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service/High Speed Packet Access (UMTS/HSPA) technology.T he network will be installed in selected Nigerian cities, including Lagos , Abuja , Port Harcourt , Benin and Ibadan . The UMTS/HSPA network contract will provide one million more subscribers with state-of-the-art mobile broadband services.
 
The new development reinforces Globacom’s position as the most innovative telecom company in Nigeria and underlines Alcatel-Lucent’s worldwide leadership in mobile broadband and its leading position in the African market.Being a multinational company, Shell requires a telecom operator with strong footing in international telecom services. Globacom also scores highly here as its Glo Gateway subsidiary is now a major player in the global telecommunication industry. Glo Gateway is the International Wholesale Voice and Data Exchange and Trading Business Unit of Globacom Limited. With the commissioning of its international switches across five of the six continents of the world, Glo Gateway is now a leading provider of telephone hubbing services for the rest of the world.

Globacom, in keeping with its aspirations to avail Africa the possibilities offered by broadband, is investing in Glo-1 Submarine cable . The project will connect West Africa to UK on a 32 STM64 project cable capacity. Initially, Glo-1 will have landing points in Lagos and Bonny in Nigeria , Bude in London and Lisbon in Portugal .Glo-1 is also deploying 16 branching units to connect countries in West Africa . This will address the increasing bandwidth requirement of Nigeria and West Africa , which is at present hardly met by the existing telecommunication infrastructure.These unique offerings and massive investments in infrastructure have no doubt set Globacom apart from the other operators who bid for the Shell contract. Jameel had stated at the launch of the contract that with its modern telecom infrastructure and quality of its manpower, Globacom will deliver on the promise. It is therefore only a matter of time before SPDC begins to reap the benefits of its decision to pitch tent with Globacom.

– Thomas sent this piece from Lagos.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200708090553.html

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