Ntel, Nigeria’s first 4G LTE broadband operator is set to sign a national roaming agreement with MTN and 9Mobile networks which would allow the new entrant roam its services on the 2G and 3G starting from the second quarter of 2018.
Mr. Ernest Akinlola, managing director/chief executive officer, Ntel in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP in Lagos said the new roaming agreements would provide immediate coverage parity, service backward compatibility (4G to 3G/2G) as well as handset compatibility and speed to scale to Ntel and allow more subscribers to join the LTE Advanced (LTE-A) network.
According to Akinlola, the test run of the roaming agreement was witnessed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and is at the final stage of approval.
Speaking on how the deal was stroke, he said, “On my fourth day, I went to see the CEO of 9mobile and I said look, you’ve lost a lot of subscribers on your network, we have the capacity to create national roaming. You have excess capacity. You get roaming revenue while you are packaging your sale, we get national scale.
“This is national roaming which the NCC approves. They have a wide paper on it, they’re encouraging it. So while trying to do, I want you to accelerate that process for us because I’m very keen to launch this quarter. So what we did was, we liaised with NCC fully and said look, let us do a trial in the market with 9mobile and they came and said well, if you guys agree, as long as we can witness it. So, our head of regulatory services and marketing director worked like bulldogs trying to make this to happen.
“And so, we did the preview concept, it worked very well and NCC have reviewed it too. We are now at that stage of waiting for final approval and the growing commercials. As it happens, other members of the ecosystem have woken to this fact and have engaged with us as well, because it is also revenue for them. If you’re flying a plane and you don’t much passengers, what will you do like 10 minutes before? You’re going to cut cost of aviation fee, all the costs, that’s what we’re doing. We currently are at advanced stages of national roaming” Akinlola said.
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