News about MTN 4G LTE service was revealed all the way from South Africa. This was at the MTN Group’s first quarter results analyst conference with investments firms in the City of Johannesburg. This was an opportunity for MTN to tell global investors why they should put their money in MTN Group.
For us in Nigeria, the important part of the revelation was this: the MTN 4G LTE platform would be introduced in Nigeria in about two months time. The roll out would start in selected cities before it is extended to other parts of the country. My bet is that the first cities to get the MTN 4G LTE service would be Abuja and Lagos. History shows that this is how it is done done in Nigeria. Even the recent launch of ntel’s services followed the same pattern.
Talking about ntel, one might be tempted to infer that MTN 4G LTE is a response to the media blitz that followed the launch of ntel’s LTE services in Nigeria. At the time it seemed there was no other LTE Network in Nigeria. But service providers like Spectranet, Smile and Swift Networks were already into that long before ntel became the new kid on the block.
So what’s the furore about 4G LTE you might ask? Or what are the benefits of having an LTE network for us in Nigeria? Short for Long Term Evolution, LTE is the upgrade on the 3G services we currently get from our GSM operators. The standard benefit for both telecoms and end users is the speed of transferring and receiving data. The difference in data transmission between LTE and 3G is geometrical. In practical terms, take Whatsapp calls that hardly ever go through due to network issues, with 4G LTE, Whatsapp calls is going to be even better than the normal voice call on GSM lines. You can even extend it to Facebook Messenger calls, BBM calls and Skype video calls. The possibilities are limitless.
Back to the MTN 4G LTE. Apparently, MTN is leveraging on the infrastructure it inherited when it bought Visafone for N47.5 billion recently. The service would be rolled out on the 800MHz frequency band that came with the acquisition of Visafone’s network. Already, MTN had started migrating the 2.1 million subscribers on the Visafone network to MTN so they can have the freedom to upgrade it the way they want, without interrupting ex-Visafone’s subscribers services. However, Visafone subscribers don’t have to worry that their subscribtions would be altered with the migration to MTN. They get to enjoy their Visafone rates on MTN’s network. But MTN subscribers are not entitled to Visafone’s rates though. Ultimately, MTN 4G LTE intends to have 1,500 sites linked into MTN’s core backbone network and fiber optic cables this year.
My take on this is not complicated. It doesn’t matter where such an important policy announcement like the MTN 4G LTE was made, as long as, in the final analysis, we the consumers get cheaper tariffs and excellent network to conduct our businesses.
photo credit: geeksng.com