Etisalat positions 4G LTE service as lifestyle enabler
The Nigeria’s telecom landscape was agog recently as major Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) raised the bars of service offerings with the launch of 4G LTE Technology.
There has been a frenzy of excitement among telecoms subscribers, operators and other industry stakeholders recently, following the launch of 4G LTE services by the major Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country.
The entry of the MNOs in the 4G LTE market generated more interest for some good reasons, which include the potential of 4G LTE to provide superfast data connectivity, better voice clarity as well as bolster Nigeria’s projection to achieve 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018.
With about 150 million mobile subscribers and about 97 million Internet users, Nigeria ranks among the fastest growing countries in terms of mobile subscribers and data penetration. However, the vast majority of Internet users have access to 2G/3G but it is estimated that LTE users will constitute 80 per cent of all data users by 2019 and the MNOs will play a significant role in bringing that to reality.
Despite the roll out of the 4G LTE service in Nigeria by various telcos, Etisalat Nigeria adopted an innovative approach in its 4G LTE service roll out, by positioning it as an enabler of socio-economic growth. The company says its service is an essential tool that empowers people to do more; and a trigger for positive growth among small and large businesses as well as the driver of future technology in Nigeria.
According to the Vice President Marketing, Etisalat Nigeria, Adebisi Idowu, the Telco had been 4G Evolution ready from that the first day it launched its services in the Nigerian market eight years ago.
Speaking at the demo launch in Lagos recently, he said that Etisalat’s objective is to ensure better connectivity for the over 23 million subscribers on its network. Idowu added that Etisalat’s 4G LTE network supports the widest range of devices so most subscribers can immediately begin to enjoy 4G LTE on Etisalat’s network without having to change their devices.
“We are more particular about enhancing lifestyles with the quality of Etisalat 4G LTE. We have positioned our LTE service to enable our subscribers own the innovation that 4G offers. We are giving world class 4G connectivity to enable users to be better at what they do,” he stated.
The world’s first commercial 4G LTE was launched six years ago in Stockholm, Sweden. By the end of 2015, the number of 4G connections was close to a billion, making steady increase in the number of people accessing its benefits. In Singapore, 4G LTE penetration is already 97%, Japan is 90% while in USA one of the early adopters, it is 81%.
According to data from GSMA Intelligence, 4G coverage was available to up to 35% of the global population in 2015, up from 27% in 2014. Forecast has also put 4G to account for more than 30% of global connections by 2020, and to cover 63% of the global population.
Statistics by eMarketer reveal that 10.3% of all mobile phone users in the world reside in the Middle East and Africa with 6.9% in sub Sahara Africa and 3.4% in the Middle East and North Africa. When placed on the 4G LTE grid, Africa accounts for just 1% of 4G LTE mobile connections worldwide as at June 2016. As of early 2013, Africa had about 300,000 activated LTE SIM cards, with 94% of those found in South Africa. It is forecasted that by the end of 2016, there would be 11 million LTE subscriptions.
According to the GSMA Mobile Economy 2016 report, the developing world will see an acceleration of network roll-outs with under half of total live networks now in developing markets, up from a third in 2013. It stated further that more than half of the countries with a live 4G network are in the developing world.
The growing number of LTE roll-outs in these markets is driving rapid migration to mobile broadband in the developing world.
4G LTE has been described as the next big thing in telecommunications because of its ability to provide superfast data speed that customers require to be able to work online, stream or download videos and do other multimedia services real time.
The Nigerian National Broadband Plan document states further that the technology has the potential to inspire new industries and bring significant efficiency into the delivery of services in education, healthcare, energy management, public safety, government-citizen interaction, knowledge dissemination and overall management of organizations.