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GLOBACOM: 19 Years of Phenomenal Impact

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By Eric Elezuo

The story of Nigeria’s thriving indigenous telecommunication network, Glo, is a story of doggedness, commitment, dedication and unbroken focus. This is considering the fact that the originator of the brand ventured into a terrain hitherto unknown to Nigerian business, overcoming the harsh business environment, familiar intimidation and huge financial involvement.

It is worthy of note that the first step towards hoisting the Glo network was a herculean task on its own as the overriding fame of Econet and MTN, was already on the ground with experience and huge financial muscle, taking the available space and thriving in all ramifications. It therefore, only required a tough and out of the box business acumen to bring Glo to existence. And this was what the man known by many names including Bull and Spirit of Africa, Dr. Michael Adenuga, did. He practically crashed the network ego, raising the customer to the kingship level and made him the sole concern of telecom business. This he did by bringing on board the famed per second billing; something nobody believed was possible.

The fact that the brand lost its initial $20 million after emerging as one of the four winners in the bid auction process to operate the just introduced Global System of Mobile telecommunications (GSM) in Nigeria, did not deter it from following the dream to give Nigerians equitable telecom service. The colossal loss may have been a blessing in disguise as it gave the team a leverage to come back smoking with ideas that changed the entire telecom world for good.

The brand is 19 years now, having waded through the murky waters of competition and churning out one great after another to the applaud of global citizens.

In a nutshell, the story of the phenomenal impact of Glo is better told by Glo itself as captured below:

X-raying Glo’s impact in telecoms sector at 19

The story of the rise of indigenous telecommunications company, Globacom, is like a fairytale.

It would be “remember clearly, as if it was yesterday, when its promoter and self-effacing billionaire, Dr Mike Adenuga, appeared to have hit a blank in his attempt to venture into the telecommunications business in 2000.

His company, Communications Investment Limited (CIL), was first issued a conditional licence in 1999 to operate the Global System of Mobile telecommunications (GSM). This followed its emergence as one of four winners of the bid auction process. Adenuga paid the $20 million mandatory deposit. However, in the process of effecting the release of the balance payment of $265 million, the licence was unfairly revoked and he lost the $20 million deposit. It was a colossal loss, but the bullish businessman who is renowned for his tenacity was undeterred. The other three winners, MTN, Airtel (then known as Econet) and M-tel proceeded to roll out services.

Two years later, Adenuga went on to bid for the Second National Operator (SNO) license, and deposited another $20 million. This time, he was lucky. He won the bid in August, 2002, through Globacom Limited. Incidentally, the SNO has a wider range of operations as it gave Globacom the right to operate as a national carrier, operate digital mobile service, serve as international gateway for telecommunications in the country, and operate fixed wireless service.

Globacom was to roll out services a year later, precisely on August 29, 2003. The odds were heavily stacked against Adenuga because by then, the other operators already had a two-year head start over Adenuga’s Glo. Secondly, he was venturing into a completely new terrain. Considering that MTN and Econet both had years of experience in the business in other countries, many expected Globacom to stutter.

However, the doubts soon evaporated. Not only did Globacom stun the industry by launching on per second billing, it also crashed the cost of acquiring a GSM line from N30,000 to N6,999 and later to N200. The older operators who, for two years boasted that it was not possible to launch operations on the billing platform as no operator in the world had done this before, were left playing catch up. Like a rampaging bull (which incidentally is Adenuga’s totem), Globacom embarked on a massive rollout of facilities and operations in several towns and cities across the country, and within nine months amassed over one million subscribers. Consequently, it established a reputation as the fastest growing GSM network in Africa.

Since that remarkable feat by Globacom, it has been one endearing success after another for the Nigerian company. In an industry where it was expected to lag behind the established multinational operators, Glo is not just rubbing shoulders with them, it has, indeed, been the pacesetter. It has come to be regarded as a behemoth in Nigeria’s telecom space.

It was the first operator to launch the 2.5 Generation technology, making the convergence of voice, data and multimedia technologies possible. Hence, Glo was able to launch such value added services as vehicle tracking, mobile internet, mobile banking, multimedia messaging service (MMS), voice SMS, and Text2email before the multinationals who were still running on 2G then.

Globacom also pioneered Blackberry Services in Nigeria, and the device was for a long time the rage among business executives and in social circles.

The introduction of the 3G Plus technology marked the second time that Globacom has been in the forefront of pioneering the latest transmission network in Nigeria. With this technology, Glo was able to carry out a much faster transmission of data, voice, broadband internet and multimedia services over a range of frequencies. It also allowed customers to do video call, video streaming and high-speed mobile internet access, amongst others, from their 3G mobile handsets.

Globacom was not done yet in setting the pace yet as it also become the first network to launch a nationwide 4G-LTE network in Nigeria. The technology offers efficient broadband internet to millions of Nigerians at speeds that are several times faster than the 3G network. Subscribers on the network are able to download ultra-high definition videos in seconds.

But perhaps one of the most audacious projects undertaken by Globacom was the construction of an international submarine cable, Glo 1. Launched in 2010, the project was said to have cost over $800 million. It was the first time a gigantic project of this nature had been undertaken by a single company.

The facility which has brought unprecedented bandwidth from Europe to Nigeria and other West African countries marked the beginning of the crashing of bandwidth costs in Nigeria and the rest of West Africa, thereby facilitating more access to broadband internet. With this intervention by Globacom, almost everyone who can afford a smartphone is able to use data. Also, according to industry sources, Glo 1 is currently providing the much needed connectivity to critical sectors of the economy. Companies in the Oil and gas, manufacturing, banking, commerce, education and health sectors as well as several multinational companies, including telecom operators and internet service providers (ISPs), are said to benefit from Glo 1.

Glo 1 has also played a major role in Nigeria’s broadband penetration which currently stands at 44.5 per cent. The penetration is principally driven by major players in the telecom sector, such as Glo 1. Globacom has also invested generously in the infrastructure to deliver the last mile to end-users, while also breaking the cost barrier by introducing affordable tariffs.

While commenting on the impact of Glo 1, Globacom sources said, “With the 4G expansion to tier 2 and 3 cities, Glo1 acts as the catalyst in propagating broadband penetration in Nigeria and acts as an enabler for enterprise customers to provide world class connectivity to all their offices and factories across Nigeria. Many cloud computing companies who cater to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES) are setting up shop within the Glo partnered data centers. Using Globacom’s robust terrestrial infrastructure, Glo1 has seized this opportunity to backhaul their traffic to other data centers across the world.”

It is remarkable that it is a Nigerian company that has pulled off this ambitious project. One of Adenuga’s close associates said the idea of building a submarine cable berthed when the entrepreneur went on a business trip to Paris, the French capital, sometime around 2008. While there, he found out that telephone calls to Nigeria were epileptic unlike the connection between France and other parts of Europe. When he made enquiries about what could be done to solve the problem, he was told it was to have an international submarine cable. There and then, Dr Adenuga decided to build Glo 1, and the rest is now history. The project is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and foresight of the man behind Globacom.

For those who know Adenuga well, it was not surprising that Glo was able to quickly established itself as the pacesetter in the industry, despite commencing business two years after MTN and Airtel (then called Econet).

Other areas Globacom has effectively set itself apart are customer-empowerment, sustainability and promotion of Nigeria’s arts and cultural heritage.  From 2003 when it commenced operations to date, no company has affected the lives of its subscribers and, indeed, the Nigerian people the way the telecommunications company has done.

Over the years, the company has launched series of promos through which different types of empowerment prizes including millions of naira in cash prizes, luxury cars, tricycles, sewing machines, generators, television sets and grinding machines have been won by Nigerians across the country.

For so many years, it supported the development of Nigerian sports through the sponsorship of the Nigerian Premier League and the national football teams of Nigeria when no other corporate organisation wanted to touch the assets. The company spent billions of naira in developing the Nigerian league and national teams, and this culminated in Enyimba Football Club winning the prestigious Champions League twice in a row, while the Super Eagles won the Nations Cup in 2013. 

Nigeria’s entertainment industry has also received a massive boost from the telecom operator. It has so far brought two of the world’s biggest reality television shows to the country. They are X-Factor, which produced DJ Switch as winner, and the Battle of the Year which was held between October last year and April, this year.

In addition to this, Globacom has over the years also held its own music and comedy shows across different cities and campuses across the country. The shows, including Rock ‘n’ Rule, GloNaija Sings, Laffta Fest, Slide and Bounce concert, and Glo mega Music, were some of the platforms through which Globacom entertained and delighted Nigerians. But more importantly they helped deepen the entertainment industry by giving budding talents in music and comedy and platform to showcase their abilities.

Similarly, the nation’s art and culture have also been positively touched by Globacom. From Ojude Oba in Ijebu-Ode, Ofala in Onitsha, Lisabi in Abeokuta, Imeori in Abriba, Oru – Owerri in Imo state, amongst others, the company has through sponsoring the festivals not only brought theme to international limelight, but has also turned them into major tourist attractions.

There is hardly any aspect of life that has not been positively touched by the telecommunications company.

Looking back at the gigantic milestones it has recorded, one would find it difficult to believe that it is just 19 years old. But would any less be expected from a company founded by Dr Mike Adenuga? He made clear his intention from the beginning with a very bold vision statement, “Building Africa’s biggest and best telecommunications network”. He is known to think and dream big – a very tenacious and dogged entrepreneur who likes to grow his businesses to dominate the sectors he operates in. Globacom has not only matched the multinational operators pound for pound, but it has, indeed, dominated Nigeria’s telecommunications sector these past 19 years.

Glo, Nigeria’s Empowerment Champion, Turns 19

Nigeria’s telecommunications giant, Globacom, turns 19 on August 29, 2022. Looking back at what the company has achieved and the kind of humongous impact it has made on people’s lives and businesses, it is difficult to believe it is just 19 years old.

Founded on August 29, 2003, by multi-billionaire business mogul, Dr. Mike Adenuga, Jr., Globacom has not only transformed the telecoms sector with its technological infrastructure, product innovations and quality service delivery, but it has also shown unparalleled commitment  to improving the lives of its customers. Its empowerment  initiatives cut across Innovation and Affordability, which have given millions of Nigerians access to telephony and allied services, Entertainment, Sports and Promotions, Festivals, among others.

Innovation and Affordability

Glo was the only operator in Africa to launch its operations on the superior 2.5G network which enabled the convergence of voice, data and multimedia technologies.

But more importantly, it launched operations on Per Second Billing, thus ensuring subscribers only pay for actual time spent on a call instead of the practice of billing customers N50 per minute event when the call cuts off at just 2 seconds.  It also crashed the cost of SIM card from N30,000 to N6,999 and later N100, thereby making it possible for low income earners, students and artisans are able to own a GSM line today.

With its massive investments in building over 20,000 kilometres of fibre optic backbone across the country, 4G technology  and Glo1, the first ever individually owned international submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria, Globacom has availed its subscribers the much needed internet bandwidth. This has led to what is called the democratization of data. For instance, with just N500, a Glo subscriber will get 2GB data, with N50 the customer gets 50MB, N100 gives 150MB. For big users on the network, they can get 675GB for N75,000 and 1Tera Byte (TB) for N100,000. The company also gives double data bonus to Glo subscribers. No wonder it is called the grandmasters of data by admirers!

Apart from boosting internet service to end users, Glo 1 is also providing connectivity to essential sectors of the economy such as oil and gas, manufacturing, banking, commerce, education and health, among others.

Entertainment

Globacom has always been associated with the development of the Nigerian music industry, since its inception, from its involvement with Nollywood and leading Nigerian music talents to the sponsorship of music shows such as Rock ‘n’ RuleGloNaija Sings, Laffta Fest, and  the world’s number one music singing talent reality TV show, X Factor. Others are Slide and Bounce concert, an entertainment tour which went round all the Geo-political zones of the country as well as Glo mega Music show, another platform through which Globacom entertains and delights Nigerians.

These programmes are meant to discover and help nurture budding talents. The company also supports the movie industry in Nigeria (Nollywood) and in Ghana (Ghollywood). Many of the actors and actresses in both countries have been chosen as Glo Ambassadors, thus projecting the continent in a refreshing light through African movies.

Only recently, Globacom brought the world’s biggest dance reality show, Battle of the Year, to Nigeria. The winners in seven different categories went home with mega millions in cash, space wagon , and also bagged an opportunity to represent at the global edition of the competition.

Indeed, no corporate organization has had the kind of assemblage of entertainment heavyweights as it brand ambassadors as Globacom. All through the years, the cream of the country’s musicians, footballers, actors and comedians have either been signed on as brand ambassadors or featured in the company’s television commercials. The long list includes veterans such as late Osita Osadebe, late Oliver d’Coque, King Sunny Ade, Ebenezar Obey, Nelly Uchendu, Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Osaze Odemwingie  and Emmanuel Emenike. Others are MI Abaga, D’Banj, PSquare, Rita Dominic, Ini Edo, Flavour, Wizkid, Davido, Basketmouth, Gordons, I go Dye, Juliet Ibrahim, Matter Ankomah, Joselyn Dumas, Michael Essien and former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Anthony Joshua.

Life-changing Promotions:

One area where Globacom has connected with its subscribers and Nigerians generally is loyalty-reward Promos. Over the years, the company has launched series of promos through which different types of empowerment prizes have been won by Nigerians across the country. From Glo Overload to Glo Allawee, Text4Millions, Made for Life, Recharge to Stardom, 180 cars in 180 days, Glo CAF Award promo, Recharge and Win Big popularly known as My Own Don Beta, Everyday Bonanza, and Joy Unlimited Extravaganza, Nigerians have benefitted massively from Globacom and many have been empowered through the Glo promos.

Between October, 2021, and January, 2022, Globacom held a life-changing promotion called Joy Unlimited Extravaganza. Thousands of Glo subscribers won brand new Kia Rio cars, refrigerators, television sets and generators across the country. Altogether, 500,000 prizes were given out.

Promotion of Nigeria’s Cultural Heritage

Over the years, Glo has partnered with several communities across the country on the sponsorship of major festivals and promotion of culture and traditions.  These include Ojude Oba in Ijebu-Ode, Ofala in Onitsha, Lisabi in Abeokuta, Imeori in Abriba, Oru – Owerri in Imo state, Afia- Orlu In Nnewi  and Abia –Ugwa in Isialangwa in Abia State. Through these sponsorships, Glo is giving a new lease of life to the festivals as well as empowering some lucky individuals in the communities through various prizes won at special promotions held during the festivals. The company has not only brought these festivals to international limelight, but has also turned them into major tourist attractions. This association has helped build up Globacom as an enviable brand.”

Glo’s phenomenal impact extends to hosting of comedy shows and encouragement of footballers to further their careers, not only in Nigeria, but across the West African suburb

In 2019, the brand’s sponsored comedy show, Bovi Man on Fire, was held in Warri, Delta State. The show was described by many as a perfect way to celebrate Easter. Not only that, the company delighted its subscribers with free tickets to attend the fun-filled event anchored by ace comedian, Bovi Ugboma. Other humour merchants that graced the show were Kelvin Sapp, Young Chief Odogwu, MC Shakara and Mr. Flexy.

Summarising what Glo stands for in these 19 years of existence, a HNI subscriber once said “Beyond the laughter here and the fun, I think, we should personally acknowledge Globacom for its efforts at always going out of its way to delight its customers and make them always number one in everything.

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Ebonyi Rally: Atiku Reiterates Commitment to Restructuring, Devolution, Says APC Deceitful

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Former Vice President of Nigeria and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, pledged his total commitment to power devolution and restructuring if elected the president, next month.

Atiku spoke while addressing a mammoth crowd of PDP supporters at Pa Ngele Oruta township stadium Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital.

While noting that the people of the South-East zone, had been clamouring for restructuring to enable them have more powers to deal with their local affairs, the presidential hopeful assured the people that restructuring and devolution of power would be a major policy of his administration.

He described the rulling All Progressives Congress (APC) as a deceitful alliance and not a political party, even as he claimed the alliance that brought APC had collapsed.

He said the APC promised to restructure the Nigeria but failed to do so.

Atiku said: “I am committed to power devolution and restructuring. All the South Eastern states have been yearning and have been propagating for restructuring of this country because they want to have more powers, more resources to deal with their own local affairs. We agree entirely and that is why it is a major policy of our government, if you support us and if you give us the opportunity.

“APC had promised the same. Did they do it? They abandoned the issue of restructuring, they are very deceitful alliance, very deceitful.

We are committed and we mean what we say and if you give us the support, we will deliver.

They said some people formed a party, it is not a party. It is an alliance and the alliance is collapsing and it has collapsed”.

He promised to empower women and youths to take over power from old politicians if given the mandate to be president of the country.

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Niger Delta Will Benefit from Our Resource Control Agenda – Atiku

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Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday said if voted into office, his administration would change the security architecture in the country and grow the economy.

He gave the assurance at the party’s Presidential Campaign in Delta held at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.

Abubakar said that between 1999 and 2015, PDP grew Nigeria’s economy and made it the largest in Africa, but that the All Progressives Congress (APC) destroyed it with its inept leadership.

He said that with adequate security and right economic policies, a PDP administration led by him would attract Foreign Direct Investment that would grow the nation’s economy, adding that the security of the country was paramount because no nation could develop without security.

He told Deltans that the team was not in the state to campaign, saying “we are here to show our gratitude and appreciation to say that we are with you in all respects because of the support we have received from you from 1999 to date.
“All through my political journey, Delta state has always supported me and I want to promise you that I shall not betray the trust of Delta and the entire Niger Delta.

“That is why in my modest appreciation, I chose one of you as my vice presidential candidate and you know that a running mate is always a stepping stone.

“Therefore it is up to you to show your support by giving Governor Okowa the massive support to enable us to rescue and rebuild our dear country.”

On his policy document, the PDP Presidential flag bearer stated that his administration would pay attention to developing the education sector, and promised that under his watch, strikes by members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would be eradicated.

“The Niger Delta and other parts of the country will benefit from our resource control and restructuring agenda because it is our intention to devolve more powers to the states and local governments to tackle peculiar challenges facing the people.

“The APC government has disunited Nigeria in all aspects and it is our commitment to restore the unity of this country by ensuring that every part of this country has a sense of belonging.

“You must believe in PDP because as a party we built the biggest economy in Africa until the APC came and destroyed it in 2015.
“Why vote for the same party that has suffered us in the last seven years plus? Let us vote them out to unite and rebuild our country again,” he said.

The Vice-Presidential Candidate of the party and Governor of Delta, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, said that Atiku knew how to address the socio-economic challenges bedevilling the country and urged the people to vote for the party.
According to him, we all know that the APC-led Federal Government brought poverty to the nation; they destroyed our economy to the extent that Nigerians are now hungry, without food to eat.

“How can a bag of rice be sold for almost N50, 000? It is only Atiku that can solve the problems in the country because when the PDP took over the reins of power in 1999, Atiku and Obasanjo were able to restore the nation’s lost glory.

“Atiku has assured Nigerians that he will revive the economy of the country and reposition it for optimum productivity in all sectors of the Nigerian economy.

“For over 20 years, Atiku has been advocating for the restructuring of Nigeria where states and local governments will get more money that will stimulate growth and development and this is what we want in the Niger Delta.

“Atiku has also promised that his administration, if elected, will put in place a constitutional framework that will enable states to have State Police so as to stem the tide of insecurity in the country.

“Atiku is an experienced politician that has the capacity and pedigree to reset the country and I call on all eligible voters in the state to ensure that they have their PVCs to enable them vote in the forthcoming general elections,” Okowa stated.

National Chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, on his part, congratulated Deltans for the choice of Okowa as Vice-Presidential Candidate and lauded previous governors of the state for their contributions to the growth and development of the state.

He called on sons and daughters of the state to vote massively for all PDP candidates in the general elections.

The rally was attended by former Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki; Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa-Ibom, Godwin Obaseki of Edo, Douye Diri of Bayelsa and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa.

Earlier, Atiku Abubakar had held a meeting with traditional rulers in Delta, at their Secretariat in Asaba, and assured that if elected, he would ensure that clear constitutional roles were given to monarchs in the country.

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Atiku Campaigns in Bayelsa, Promises Devolution of Power, Restructuring

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has promised the Niger Delta people that his administration will devolve powers from the centre and restructure Nigeria if elected.

Atiku, who spoke at the campaign rally of the PDP in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Monday, noted that the people of the region had been clamouring for resource control and the restructuring of the country and that his government, when elected, would accede to their demands.

He reiterated the implementation of his five-point developmental agenda for the nation, which he listed as the unification of the country, tackling insecurity, the economy, ending the strike in universities, and restructuring.

He said, “I promised to tackle insecurity. Here in Bayelsa State, you have faced a number of security challenges. You have lost so many people due to breaches of law and order. I promise I will restore security in this country.

“We proposed to restructure this country. You people in the Niger Delta need more restructuring than any other part of this country. We will give you more resources and more powers to deal with your problems. You don’t have to always start begging the Federal Government.”

In his remarks, the Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, said Atiku was the only presidential candidate who had pledged to give the Ijaw people, and indeed the Niger Delta, restructuring.

Diri said partly, “Now, the only candidate who has keyed in and who has talked about what the Ijaw people want and what the people of Bayelsa want is Atiku; we have been talking about: resource control, Atiku is the only candidate that has talked about the restructuring of this country. Therefore, Atiku and the PDP are the only candidates and parties for which the Ijaw people will vote.”

Also speaking, the vice presidential candidate of the PDP and governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, called on the people of Bayelsa State to give the party no fewer than 700,000 votes, while the geopolitical zone should deliver at least five million votes for the PDP at the presidential polls.

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