This Day (Lagos)

28 February 2013

Nigeria: Capcom Will Boost Competition Between CDMA and GSM, Says NCC

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, has said that the emergence of Capcom will enhance healthy competition between the operations of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM).

Juwah, who spoke with THISDAY on telephone, said he had confidence on the new CDMA operator, going by its operational plan on service rollout, which it submitted to the NCC for approval.

"Capcom is likely going to do well, based on its formation, structure, and financial strength, and I am confident with what I have seen, that it will boost competition between CDMA and GSM operations, by the time it rolls out its commercial operations," Juwah said.

Although the GSM operators and the CDMA operators had been on parallel business lines, separated by the different technologies they were using, which hitherto did not encourage competition among them, but the new trend of technology convergence has forced both operators to embrace the same technology known as the Long-term Evolution (LTE) technology that is suitable for both CDMA and GSM operations. The LTE technology, also known as the fourth generation technology (4G), is the new generation mobile technology network, which comes with all IP (Internet Protocol) wireless-enabled. LTE supports higher data rates to enable delivery of advanced broadband capabilities, enhancement of existing and new services, data-heavy multimedia services, including high quality video, enabling a seven fold increase in the number of simultaneous users on the network.

Based on the features that the 4G technology present to both CDMA and GSM operators, and the readiness of both operators to embrace the new technology, Juwah said NCC became confident that the emergence of Capcom will eventually boost healthy competition between GSM operators and the CDMA operators.

Last year, Capcom bought over three CDMA operators; MTS First Wireless, Multi-Links and Starcomms, and merged the three operators into a single and robust CDMA operator, known as Capcom.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) designate of the Capcom, Mr. Demola Elesho, had earlier told THISDAY that Capcom would roll out services by the third quarter of this year, if it was able to get all approvals from its shareholders, the NCC and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It has however gotten approval from NCC, and stakeholders of the different CDMA operators that made up Capcom, but still awaiting that of SEC before it can embark on a commercial rollout.

With the emergence of LTE technology, there is now a clear momentum behind its global deployment, which is seen as the next world mobile phone 'standard', with 35 commercial LTE networks launched in 21 countries by October 2011, including Verizon in the US and DoCoMo in Japan. The number of LTE networks globally was said to have risen in excess of 100 by the end of 2012.

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