Medallion Communications Limited is a foundational telecommunications infrastructure servicing company focused on providing neutral critical network infrastructure carrier for use by the industry. Connecting Nigeria to the world, Medallion Communications maintains state-of-the-art data centers and traffic clearing houses that allow the country’s telecom service providers to offer their clients world class services.
Medallion data centres are today the most connected facilities in West Africa. It is the region’s number one peering point connecting the sub-region to the rest of the world. No other facility has the same number and concentration of International Submarine Fiber Operators (Main One, Glo1, SAT3, WACs, ACE, etc); Digital Mobile Services Providers (MTN, Airtel, Glo, 9Mobile); LTE Service Providers (Smile, Ntel, InterC, etc); Long Distance Operators (Phase3, Multilinks-Telkom, MTN, Airtel, Globacom, etc); Metro Fiber Operators (Broadbase, 21st Century, VDT, IPNX, Suburban, etc); Critical National Contents Infrastructure (Nigerian Internet Exchange, Nigerian Internet Registration Agency, Nahco, NgREN, etc); OTT Service Providers (Google, Facebook, etc); VAS Providers (GTS-Infotel, Infobip, Cedarview, Interra, etc); ISPs (Netcom Africa, Internet Solution, Vodacom, Layer3, Skyvision, etc). Medallion ensures seamless interconnectivity and peering amongst these service providers.
Dubbed Nigeria’s Telehouse, Medallion is the number one go-to facility for fast, efficient, and cost effective hosting and connectivity services when time to market and affordability is essential. Medallion is the chosen hosting company of choice for the major value added service providers and premium rated operators in Nigeria and international companies seeking to do business in Nigeria.
Medallion Communications designs, implements, and operates traffic clearing houses that function as nodes where telecom operators can seamlessly interconnect their networks, share resources, and reduce overhead. The company observes strict carrier neutrality and offers settlement services that allow operators to easily reconcile traffic, thereby reducing bureaucracy and ensuring efficient bill processing.
Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani, CEO of Medallion Communications Ltd. I am a telecom engineer, focused on connectivity, telecom infrastructure development, and looking at creative ways to provide efficient service delivery to the industry at a very reduced cost.
Operations of interconnect clearing house
Interconnect clearing house is model that requires you create a common platform where operators exchange traffic. So, when operator A is calling operator B, you switch and route the calls making sure it is terminated efficiently. You generate the call records, so that the end of the billing circle, you’re able to present invoices, and ensure that operators are able to settle among themselves. The need for that is to prevent competition, and to prevent a situation where bigger operators use the size of their network and operation to prevent the smaller ones from being able to operate efficiently. So, interconnect has always been a weapon that some dominant operators have used against smaller ones. Having a transparent third party that is also not an operator helps to clean up that space and make it more transparent and open.
Challenges of interconnect business
It is just the methods and policies. The country was already having peer-to-peer connections before the regulator invited the clearinghouses to come and address some of the challenges been faced. Unfortunately, for some, whatever reason, some of the major players felt the clearinghouses would create a more transparent and open system and they didn’t like that. So, they were not too keen on encouraging or patronizing it until the regulators started intervening .
But things have moved on, there was a time if you check when even with the cell site management and all, everybody was building their own towers, their own cell sites. Now everybody is moving into managed services where they share common infrastructure. So, the same thing with the interconnect space, people are beginning to understand that from the technical operational standpoint you need to evolve. Para-venture it was one of those services that came too early, but it doesn’t matter, it’s a matter of where are you heading tomorrow. The telecom world tomorrow is a world that is based on management services. It’s a world that’s is based on ensuring that people are focused on the core of their service while you outsource what is not core to you. The same way they’ve been able to officially realize the need to outsource their cell sites. I also believe in a matter of time, operators would begin to outsource their interconnect components to clearinghouses. For me, it’s a matter of time, it’s going to happen it might just take a while.
Medallion plans for 2020
We’re expanding infrastructure into the six geopolitical zones. We feel beyond Lagos, which in fact, sometimes people want to carve out Lagos from the southwest geopolitical zone because Lagos is so far ahead of the others. We feel beyond that, there’s literally not much infrastructure in other parts of the country and we believe that there’s need to address that. it is going to improve quality of service, create employment, and would also improve the quality of life of the citizens. Some of the services that used to get to that point can’t go there without adequate infrastructure. So, that is our top priority for next year. We actually thought that this year we should have achieved that, but it is still a work in progress. But definitely by 2020, we should be able to do that.
In five year time, we want to cover more of the country, be a more relevant player in the industry, making sure we contribute to the growth much more significant than we’ve done, and then possibly extend it to other west African countries. We are already doing that we already have some partnership in Ghana and some of the neighbouring countries but we want to do that more over the next few years. but our core focus still remains Nigeria.
Issues regulators needs to tackle better
Yes. Telecom financing. There is currently no regulatory intervention in telecom financing which we’ve been pushing for. We feel the regulator can push through the central bank or some of the government financial agencies to create a telecom or ICT bank where they understand the telecom industry. The current banks we have don’t understand it. So, when you go and want to import worth of 10 million worth of telecom equipment, they don’t see that equipment as sufficient collateral to advance facility to you. But somebody says ‘oh I want to do agriculture’ and then every thing you brings in as agricultural equipment is taken as collateral. So, you’re good to go. But we don’t see that in telecom. Telecom is a long term project that requires long term funding minimum 10 years. We don’t see that taking place and these are things we feel the regulator should be able to intervene and help address, and become a bridge. The last time we called a stakeholders meeting between the telecoms CEOs and the banking CEOs, we are hoping the regulators should be able to organise something like that, just to help them understand where the industry is, the value the industry creates and best it can operate.
For now our CSR has focused on training. We’ve focused training a lot of students, IT, NYSC, we actually have a three months and six months training program-specific training. because we feel if these people are well trained by the time they leave school they would have a passion for the telecom/ ICT industry. We’ve also done a few stuff in terms of supporting the less privilege. but our number one focus is ‘how can we train a better work force?’.
The key points is that we’ve been able to operate and add value. As you said before, our data center is today listed as probably the most important in the country. And that is based on the fact we have the largest connectivity in the country today amongst other providers in that space. We’ve able to bring a lot of international players to come and set up their facility and infrastructure within the country. And that for us represents a good positive outcome.
We’ve also been able to pally with pioneers in several of these services like the data centre space. And early this month, we got an award for the data centre pioneers for country. And that’s the truth. We were the first to create career neutral Data Centre services. Other people built Data Centre but it was primarily for their own personal use.
So, we’ve added value over time and that’s because we understand where the country is and where it needs to be. We’ve been able to take advantage of our experience especially in other market to contribute towards the growth of telecom system in the country.
Nigeria business experience
Very difficult. We don’t have access to good funding. We don’t have access to government support and infrastructure. But it is a very good market to be in. The opportunities are there if you can overcome the challenges. And that for us is why we keep going. We look at the opportunity and we try to balance it the challenges and keep going.
Has regulations been fair in the sector?
It is difficult to say. My straight up answer would have been No. But the truth is I’m so mindful that the regulator is also operating within the same country we are all operating in. So, they are also facing the same challenges we are facing. For instance when an operator decides to go rogue and even refuses to obey the instructions of the regulator. If the regulator goes had to enforce and the subscribers would suffer. So, when we are a victim of that we try to understand that things could be done better but unfortunately we have to work with the regulator to understand. But there has been regulatory challenges for sure. And we feel there have been victims in cases where we think it should have been done better. But in all insincerity, we also understand that some of these things are the state of the country and we are all hopeful it improves over time.