By Aniefiok Ikoh
When the general system for mobile (GSM) telecommunication licenses were issued in 2001 and the new operators rolled out with mobile services, Nigerians were just too happy to be able to just barely make calls from anywhere and at anytime without having to queue up and pray for dialling tone at government-owned telephone booths.
With the GSM sector fully operational, the telephone ceased to be a status symbol for the super-rich, as it used to be, but instead gradually transited to becoming an indispensable device for business/social relationships and a tool for security, entertainment and fun, thanks to the coming of mobile Internet driven by the 3G and 4G technology and undersea cables.
Throughout the evolution of mobile services in Nigeria, the fourth entrant into the market who came in as second national carrier next to NITEL, the official government operator, Globacom, played a pioneering role.
In 2003, Globacom came into the market with the mantra of innovation operating with the 2.5G GPRS network while MTN, Airtel and Mtel were running on the legacy 2G infrastructure. The 2.5G enabled Glo Mobile to offer superior quality of voice calls as well as value-added services (VAS).
With this, Globacom could provide value-added services like M-banking, text2email, Magic Plus, Multimedia Messaging Service, vehicle tracking among other avant-garde and revolutionary services that others could not offer. Instantly, it imbued Nigerians with a sense of immense pride. A home-grown company had risen to liberate its people from telecoms servitude. The launch of the Blackberry in 2006 was a game-changing move that gave the network a golden gilt edge.
The network continued to blaze the trail and went on to launch the 3G network. The other networks eventually followed suit as they also launched both the Blackberry and 3G services which Glo had earlier launched with great pomp. The era of 3G communication saw the explosion of data-based telecommunication and mobile internet services.
However, one barrier existed between the subscriber and this modern and vast resource – cost of data bundles. While the bandwidth was available, customers often could not afford the cost of many services over the World Wide Web. Audio streaming, not to mention video streaming or heavy data usage for most Internet data users was out of the question.
Then Globacom stepped in with Glo-1 in 2010. The infrastructure addressed the inadequacy of SAT-3 , the Pan African submarine telecoms cable that could not guarantee the required speed and capacity for the emerging bandwidth demands of Africa. The landing of Glo1 translated into much faster and more robust connectivity for voice, data and video. This development and the launch of other submarine cables like Main One made bandwidth available and facilitated a drastic fall in the cost of doing data/Internet services. Globacom led the way to liberalize access to data, thereby making not only fast internet connection available, but also making such services pocket-friendly.
As a New Year gift in January 2016, Globacom gave subscribers the Bumper Data Offer which increased the value of its data. It gave subscribers 6GB data for the N3,000 data plan instead of 4.5GB while a N4000 data plan was introduced with 9GB of data.
In May 2016, Globacom came out with a-two pronged offer that gave free voice airtime to data subscribers. One of the products,Talk Special, gives free data to voice subscribers while Twin Bash gives free talk time to data subscribers,
As if all these were not enough, Globacom on Monday, November 6, 2017, threw open the barn doors for its subscribers for a new season of excess data as the company once again blazed the trail by launching a new data revolution, which confers on its subscribers an unfair advantage with unmatched data packages; the biggest ever in the industry.
At the launch of the Glo Data Revolution at the company’s headquarters, Mike Adenuga Towers in Lagos, Globacom’s Regional Director, Planning and Technical, Mr. Sanjib Roy, said the new offer gives both new and existing subscribers who renew their subscriptions before expiration up to 4GB of data for just N1,000. This 4GB data, for example, translates to about 4,000 pages of web browsing.
In the same vein, the 12.5GB is given for a N2,500 data bundle. This, for instance, could be used for 250 hours of content broadcast. Just as subscribers stand to gain 24GB for N4,000 and a massive 30GB for N5,000. The 30GB for N5,000 can enable the subscriber to enjoy videos for over 600 hours, for instance.
For smaller plans, new subscribers and those who renew with N100 subscription will have a 90MB bundle; while for N200, they will get 250MB with which they can send 400 emails for example. For N500, the customer gets a whopping 2GB of data, which the subscribers can use to do 10 days of unlimited chatting, if need be, Roy explained.
Never has the subscriber to any network in Nigeria had it so big and so good. All you need to do is get on the Glo data network and stay on by continuing to renew your subscription to enjoy the benefits that give you the unfair advantage over other data users.
Globacom also has made it possible for subscribers to watch movies free as it entered a partnership with iflix , the biggest online entertainment portal. Explaining the Glo-iflix partnership, which is available on the Glo Café platform, Roy said that beyond giving subscribers of the telecoms firm, 60 days of unlimited access to the world’s best television programmes, series, movies, cartoons and more on their devices, after the 60 days, the Glo subscribers will get access at a specially discounted price of N100 per month only. Subscribers need to send “Buzz” to 105 to access the iflix service.
iflix, he reiterated, offers subscribers the most extensive selection of iconic, critically-acclaimed TV series and fan-favourite films both internationally and locally available in the region, including hit titles such as The Big Bang Theory, Suits, The flash, Arrow, Hercules, Mission Impossible, as well as highly anticipated Bollywood hits ABCD, Chennai Express, Phantom, and PK. On the local front, iflix offers such Nollywood titles as Head Gone, Jenifa’s Diary, The visit, Bukas and Joints and much more.
In addition to the above, the company also offers to subscribers who recharge up to N500 and above free YouTube streaming from 1am to 5.30am. Youtube is a popular video-sharing site that allows users to upload, view, rate, share, add to favorites, report, comment on videos. All the subscriber needs to do is to dial *777# to buy a data plan to activate the services.
From the foregoing, netizens and millennials are excited that Globacom has reinforced their capacities to surf the Net, upload and download pictures as they chase their passions with the unfair advantage afforded them by the grandmasters of data.
•Ikoh is a communications consultant with Synergy Consult in Lagos