‘GSM Technology for Voice Communication Will Become Obsolete Soon’


Emma Okonji

In spite of its technical capacity to deepen voice communication in Nigeria and other regions of the world, the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) technology that is driving voice communication, would soon become obsolete and unsustainable, given current technology trend that is fast shifting from voice to data communication, a technology expert has predicted.

The Chief Executive Officer, IPI Solutions Nig. Ltd, Mr. Adamu Garba II, who made the remark during an interview with THISDAY, said that “technology is evolving and the current evolution from voice communication to data communication, will definitely make the GSM technology that is driving voice communication to become obsolete and unsustainable, such that making voice calls through the traditional SIM card connectivity will no longer be relevant in the face of Over the Top Technology (OTT), which service providers could use to provide voice calls free of charge, using various platforms like skype, WhatsApp, Viber, among others.”

Garba II therefore advised telecoms operators that provide voice services using the GSM technology, to diversify their investments in data communication in order to remain competitive in the telecoms business.

According to him, tools like skype, WhatsApp, Viber, among others, would become the primary mode of interaction and communication for all mobile phone users within the shortest possible time, maybe within the next two to three years.

Advising telecoms operators on the next line of technology to invest in, Garbar II said although there is a global shift from voice to data communication, but there will never be a shift that will ever eliminate voice communication. Instead, the shift will cause GSM technology to go into extinct and unsustainable, he said, adding that telecoms providers will have to invest heavily in the provision of data services and other value added services because GSM technology, which they currently sell will soon become unsustainable.

“People have reached the power of skype, WhatsApp, to make their voice calls as opposed to using traditional SIM lines. Our current SIM cards would just be a data link because skype, for instance, enables you to communicate in a more natural human language, with more flexibility and deep integration with your normal office worker productivity tools than the current GSM technology, and this comes free of charge,” he said.

He further explained that the evolving platforms that would eliminate GSM technology using voice calls, would also give subscribers the opportunity for high definition (HD) video capability, using simple data network on their mobile phone, especially with the current movement to fourth generation (4G) networks.

Worried about the disruption that OTT technology is bringing to the telecoms industry, where new service providers are taking advantage of OTT technology to provide free services for voice communication through platforms like Skype and WhatsApp, telecoms operators have cried out to the telecoms industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to make haste to regulate the OTT technology, which they alleged, is fast cutting down on their revenue streams, since they spent huge sums of money in paying for the GSM spectrum licences and for the building and expansion of their GSM networks.

Their worries are that they have spent so much money in building the GSM network and that a situation where new service providers now bypass the traditional GSM network to offer voice services free of charge over the internet, is detrimental to the growth of GSM operators who had over the years, spent their monies in building the GSM network.
Although NCC is yet to wade into the matter, its Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has said NCC would maintain its technology neutrality position, and regulate the activities of telecoms service providers, and not the technology with which they provide the services.

Garba II, who is an expert in cloud computing technology, also called on Nigerians to embrace cloud technology, since the world of productivity is shifting towards digitisation. According to him, the cloud is a powerful enabler to digital transformation, considering the fact that the future is becoming increasingly digital.
“Digital transformation is the only way for organisations to adapt in order to meet up with the current trend and this will not be possible without cloud as a powerful enabler,” he said.

At IPI, our focus is to ensure that we become digital transformers, picking organisation processes, practices and structures, by transforming it into digital information for easier accountability, transparency and compliance. Cloud is the ultimate way and in fact, it is the harbinger of 4th industrial revolution, he added.