World Telecom Labs (WTL), an established telecom equipment vendor in Nigeria, has welcomed The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)’s recent announcement that national roaming and active Infrastructure Sharing in Nigeria will end the digital divide between rural and urban Nigeria.
However, WTL is urging the NCC to increase the footprint of Nigeria’s networks by encouraging the build of shared networks in rural Nigeria where there is little or no coverage at the moment. These new shared networks would be built by a neutral service provider and used by existing operators. Allocating USF money to the CAPEX cost of such networks would reduce the risk.
WTL has been consulted by the NCC on the Development of a Framework for National Roaming and Active Infrastructure Sharing in Nigeria.
National roaming and infrastructure sharing will enable people to use the network of other service providers in Nigeria where their own service provider does not have a network or has limited network coverage. In effect, operators share their infrastructure thus eliminating the need to lay duplicate infrastructures in areas where this is not commercially feasible.
WTL is already working with wholesale operators in five countries in Africa to build rural networks and, with infrastructure sharing being widely considered across the continent, the company firmly believes that the removal of the CAPEX cost of building a rural network will encourage previously reluctant operators to start offering services in these areas.
WTL also believes that infrastructure sharing will be of great benefit to Nigerians with increased coverage, improved service levels and competition driving down costs.
Speaking in Lagos this week, Rubin Rose from WTL said “We have championed the National Roaming model across Africa and applaud the NCC for taking a wise, far-sighted approach to the issue. A key success factor in making national roaming work is a proactive regulator who ensures the right environment is created.
However, the NCC’s announcement doesn’t go far enough. It merely encourages existing licensed MNOs to share infrastructure in areas where only one in two are active. Our bigger vision enables neutral 3rd party networks to be deployed where MNOS refuse to go, this would increase the overall footprint.”
WTL will continue to share its expertise with the NCC in particular in the areas of cross-billing and reconciliation and mobile number portability.
WTL has cemented its position as the company with the best commercially viable and sustainable system for building networks in rural villages in emerging markets by winning multiple awards including the Best Connectivity Solution category at the AfricaCom awards, the Best African Project category at the annual Global Carrier Awards and the Best Technology Deployment category at the Capacity Africa Awards.
Its Vivada Wholesale portfolio was specifically developed so that wholesale carriers, tower companies or even government agencies can build low OPEX, low-CAPEX networks in rural areas for use by multiple operators. The networks support all types of pre and post-paid customers with varying telecoms budgets including GSM for every type of handset; wifi connectivity for smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs – and connectivity to cybercafes and hotspot call cabins.
Vivada includes a micro GSM or LTE base station, wifi routers, backhaul optimisation, billing and provisioning software, VoIP compression switches and SMS servers. The entire system runs on less than 200W which can be supplied by solar with battery back-up.
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