NATCOM is set to re-launch the SAT-3 undersea facility, which will set the pace for the next level of telecommunications and internet bandwidth so as to tap broadband stakes in the country, the Managing Director, Mr. Kamar Abass, has said.
The SAT-3 rebound, to be driven by NITEL, the new company formed from the NITEL acquisition, is part of a multi-pronged strategy by the Nigerian consortium to drive the new company as a key player in the telecoms industry.
With SAT-3, Abass says that the new NITEL will not only increase internet bandwidth and penetration but also boost transmission of broadband capacities from the shores of Nigeria into the hinterlands, where the company says it has spotted high demand.
The SAT-3 undersea fibre optic cable system, built by a consortium of national telecoms operators across Africa and beyond, was formerly owned by NITEL prior to its acquisition by NATCOM. Under the rebound plan for NITEL, Abass said in Lagos recently that the SAT-3 cable will now offer Nigerians better and faster Internet services which they have always wanted.
In the new plan, the company’s brand, which will be marketed as Nigerian Telecommunications (NTEL), will also launch 4G Long Term Evolution Technology (LTE) services, as the successor to NITEL will focus on mobile services from the outset.
Abass, a former Country Manager of Ericsson Nigeria, says that NTEL’s belief to enable superfast broadband access is underlined by over $1.2 billion that the company is investing in efforts to launch a new telecoms company riding on the back of the dilapidated assets and connections that NITEL/MTEL left behind.
“There is no need to be contented with 3G any longer. We have the capability to give you fast Internet access not waiting till 2020, but coming as quick as later this year,” he said.
“We are bringing in 4G and it will be the best broadband service available anywhere around the world. The SAT3 submarine cable also boasts one of the lowest latency routes from Africa to Europe and is currently operated with full in-system protection.
“The doubling of its capacity positions it as the leading submarine cable with the widest reach in the world. SAT 3 has about 17 landing point in 15 countries, longest submarine cable and a total of 100Gb/s. It is a robust cable system. It is controlled by 35 member countries and NTEL has one of the highest shares of the consortium.”
NTEL, he revealed, is also backing up the plan with the rollout of a data centre, adding: “Also, we are building a Tier III data centre, meaning we are just allowed to have a downtime of not more than 24 minutes per year, meaning we have double layer of redundancy of every component that service the data centre.”
The NTEL MD also says that users of 2G network in Nigeria are over 117 million and there will be sharp decrease by 2020 to about 27 million users. Also, 3G networks have about 36 million users in Nigeria and by 2020 we would have about 141 million users and 4G has 400,000 users, and by 2020 it will get to 54 million users.
“This is the opportunity that NTEL intends to latch at in order to be the game changer by deploying a 4G network,” Abass added. “Nigeria is underper-forming in relation to the amount of data that we consume and this is having impact on our GDP.
“It seems to me the evidence is compelling that when you don’t have as much throughput on data, it affects your productivity, which affects your wealth and affects your GDP and your investments.