Chief Executive Officer of ntel, Mr. Kamar Abass

NatCom Development and Investment Limited trading as ‘ntel’, the company that acquired the core assets of NiTel/MTel, made its first Voice over LTE call in Lagos penultimate week.

According to ntel, the test VoLTE call was made at ntel’s new Tier III data centre located on Lagos Island. VoLTE calls are enabled over a carrier’s high-speed data network instead of on a voice network. Voice over LTE calls also connect faster upon dialing and feature ultra-clear high-definition voice quality.

The ntel VoLTE call was completed in partnership with Original Equipment Manufacturers LM Ericsson of Sweden and Sony Electronics of Japan. This follows ntel’s first data call on 18 January, 2016 and its first SIP voice call on 18 February, 2016. ntel will now progress work with Nigeria’s other mobile operators and international partners to perform cross-network VoLTE calls. This will ensure that ntel’s customers can connect with each other as easily as they can to both customers in Nigeria and to those elsewhere in the world.

The crystal-clear, high-definition VoLTE call was made via an ntel sim card and is set to be a significant differentiating factor for ntel as it progresses with the roll-out of its largest advanced 4G/LTE network, due to be launched shortly.

The Chief Executive Officer of ntel, Mr. Kamar Abass, confirmed that the key network elements are now in place to support the full commercial launch of premium integrated voice, video and data services over 4G/LTE.
He added “the ntel network is built on the 900/1800 Mhz which are the most efficient propagation frequencies for the deployment of 4G/LTE technology.”

NatCom Chairman, Tunde Ayeni, had told the House of Representatives Communications Committee that ntel was committed to investing over $1 billion to support roll out of commercial services, starting in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja. He also noted that ntel would generate employment for more than 4,000 Nigerians over the next five years.

According to him, the test call is a further demonstration that ntel is fully committed to building on the acquired assets of NiTel/MTel to provide world class super-fast broadband services to support the federal government’s 2013 national broadband plan.

Strategies to achieve VoLTE rollout

For Smile Nigeria, its strategy is to raise enough fund for the rollout, since 4G LTE is capital intensive.

What Smile did was to obtain $365 million debt and equity financing from local and international banks for network expansion in its African operations, which includes Nigeria. Managing Director, Smile Nigeria, Mr. Michiel Buitelaar, who spoke on the financing, said the money would be used for its expansion plan, which will cover its VoLTE rollout.

“Yes, we got $365 million loan financing last year for the expansion of our business, which includes voice over 4G LTE. We have commenced work in that area of business expansion, because the money is already in our hands. So what we have done is to enter into partnership agreement with infrastructure vendor to supply us with the necessary equipment for the rollout of our voice over 4G LTE network. We have done a massive order from Ericsson and some of the equipment have started arriving Nigeria. We are opening new centres in Nigeria to enable us have a wide coverage area for our 4G LTE service offerings. We have commenced installations of towers in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Abuja and other major cities of the country,” Buitelaar said.

Benefits of VoLTE

Apart from experiencing a super-fast and reliable internet service, it will enable Nigerians to create a digital economy through technology innovations. It will also help recreate existing services in a more dynamic way that is much better from what it used to be in the past. It is about voice communication that is built on data communication that is expected to bring ample opportunities for Nigerians to access the internet and explore new things.

Again, both the caller and the call recipient will be able to see themselves and hear themselves clearly, with super-fast connectivity, when making voice calls over 4G LTE network.

About 4G LTE

To experience VoLTE, telecoms subscribers need mobile data connectivity, be it 2G and 3G or even the latest 4G LTE technology in today’s modern world, whether it’s for checking email, working remotely of posting messages on Facebook. But having the 4G LTE broadband data connectivity, is awesome, owing to its speed of connectivity and its multitasking features, which enables people connect to the internet, download apps and do several types of business transactions, even when on the go.

Apart from business transaction, the 4G LTE enables big time entertainment like video streaming, thus making life a lot easier for people, as they could watch movies via You Tube and otter social media from their smartphones and other smart mobile devices.

4G, as the name suggests, picks up where 3G and 2G left off. 4G stands for Forth Generation of Cellular Communications and is the next step in the evolution of mobile data.

4G is gaining momentum globally, with Sprint’s 4G network and T-Mobile’s LTE network outside Nigeria, the Smile 4G LTE and the ntel VoLTE in Nigeria.

The beauty of 4G LTE is that the 3G, 3.5G and even the 3.75G, could be upgraded to 4G LTE.

Probably the biggest benefit of 4G is that it will be upwards of 10 times faster than current 3G network speeds. The obvious benefit of this is that people will be able to do things faster, consume more media on their device and work harder.

Ofcom’s Chief Executive Officer, Edward Richards, once spoke about the benefits of 4G, saying “It offers much better data services and therefore all the kind of things you can get on broadband at home or in your office and that you aspire to do through your smartphone or tablet computer and so forth, that is exactly what 4G services will enable.”