- Ntel Partners MTN, 9mobile for National Roaming Service
Telecom network operator, ntel, has formed a partnership with two mobile network operators, MTN Nigeria and 9mobile, to roll out a national roaming service in the country.
The roaming service will commence in April this year, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, ntel, Ernest Akinlola, said while addressing journalists at a forum in Lagos on Friday.
He said the partnership was hinged on complementary skills set and robust customer service common to all parties involved.
“ntel is planning to roll out national 2G and 3G roaming service with two foremost network operators, 9mobile and MTN Nigeria. This service is expected to roll out in the second quarter of 2018, April to be specific,” the ntel CEO stated.
He said the company was already at the commercial decision stage with 9mobile and was finalising the pricing, having completed the trial of the roaming plan.
With MTN, he stated that the network provider had agreed to go on national roaming trial with ntel.
According to Akinlola, some of the benefits of rolling out a national roaming service are immediate coverage parity, service backward compatibility of 4G to 3G and 2G, handset compatibility and speed to scale.
“The partnership with 9mobile, which has 2G/3G, will help customers to enjoy the best data with good speed. It will help the network operators to become efficient and have less cost with the roll-out in 4G. The planned roll-out with 9mobile is on the commercial decision stage; MTN has agreed with the collaboration and will be going for a trial period with ntel.”
As part of the plans to reposition the company, Akinlola said there were also plans to expand the LTE network coverage in metro areas and offer strong fixed broadband to customers.
“There is a road map for wider coverage beyond Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Abuja,” he added.
Meanwhile, while eight West African countries have keyed into the elimination of call roaming charges in the sub-region, Nigeria is missing in action.
The countries that have implemented the free roaming agreement are Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Togo, with Benin enforcing the regional agreement on March 1 this year.
The initiative endorsed by African telecom regulatory authorities aims to create a common market in telecommunications in West Africa by allowing calls to be patched through a single network and received at local rates without roaming charges.
The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria had said that the elimination of call roaming charges in the ECOWAS sub-region would drive more traffic for Nigerian telecom operators.