Globacom Gets $880m for Network Expansion


January 31, 2007/independent


<P><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt\">Globacom has secured a new $880 million facility to upgrade subscription from 11 million lines to 18 million by the end of the year. The loan would also help boost network capacity from 13 million to 30 million lines. Globacom Chief Operating Officer, Mohammed Jameel, told Information Minister, Frank Nweke, who visited the company on Wednesday, that $600 million was secured from Alcatel, one of its major suppliers.</SPAN></P>


<P><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt\">Another $280 million came from an unnamed source to complete its submarine cable gateway project that would link Nigeria with the United Kingdom, and with a dedicated route to the United States.</SPAN></P>


<P><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt\">Globacom hopes to conclude a deal with another systems supplier soon to achieve its twin goal of becoming the leading GSM operator and player in 3-G network now being mooted.</SPAN></P>


<P><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt\">Jameel pleaded with Nweke that GSM operators be given 3-G licence free, promising that Globacom would participate in the provision of 3-G services to enable Nigerians rule their world.</SPAN></P>


<P><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt\">With the assistance of Alcatel, Globacom has made its network 3-G compatible and its mobile operator, Glo, would roll-out Wimax services once it secures the 3.5 Mghz frequency licence, Jameel added.</SPAN></P>


<P><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt\">Globacom is also interested in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC’s) broadband project, SABI, and has submitted proposals for consideration.</SPAN></P>
<P><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt\">It is concluding negotiations to enable it expand its services to other West African countries, Jameel said, and hopes to provide internet services in the next six months.</SPAN></P>


<P><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt\">Nweke explained that his visit to Globacom is part of a nationwide tour with journalists to remind Nigerians where the administration has brought them from 1999.</SPAN></P>


<P><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt\">He wondered how human memory is so short that it has forgotten so soon where the country was in terms of infrastructure, especially in telecommunications in 1999, and the height to which the government has since taken it.</SPAN></P>


<P><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt\">He expressed surprise that most people have forgotten the number of those unemployed eight years ago, before the telecommunications revolution, and the number of telephone lines in the country at the time.</SPAN></P>


<P><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt\">Nweke described Globacom as a big, world class, and competitive outfit; and the NCC as one of the best run agencies. To him, the success in telecommunications is due to the independence granted the NCC and the role that companies such as Globacom have played.</SPAN></P>


<P><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt\">He said he is looking forward to Globacom becoming a brand recognised as ‘Nigerian,’ in the mould of France Telecoms and Siemens.</SPAN></P>


<P><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt\">Nweke reiterated the resolve to merge the NCC and the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), compelled by digital convergence. <EM><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 10pt; COLOR: #dcdcdc\">- independent</SPAN></EM></SPAN></P>

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