The Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, monday declared that Nigeria owed national telecom operator, Globacom, a debt of gratitude for liberalising the country's telecommunications space.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on the management of the company at the Mike Adenuga Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos, the minister said Globacom broke the jinx in the industry and made telecom services available to the vast majority of Nigerians.
He added that Globacom had also introduced many innovations in the telecom industry which had aided the telecom revolution in the country.
"Nigeria owes a debt of gratitude to Glo and we shall support you until you become an Octopus on the African continent. Given what you have done in Nigeria, I am not surprised that Glo is conquering Africa now. I urge you to continue to play your role, and Africa will continue to show appreciation to you for liberating the space for telecommunication services," Shittu stated.
Shittu used the opportunity to make a case for coverage of emerging rural areas. "There are so many new settlements around where GSM connectivity is not available at all and people still have to travel long distances. I appeal to Glo to investigate this very quickly and take steps to remedy the situation. This may not be peculiar to Ikorodu; I know that many new communities are growing in leaps and bounds and such situations exist.
"I am happy with the giant strides you have made in continental interconnectivity of cables across the Atlantic. I want to commend you on this, and I believe that, having succeeded with continental interconnectivity, within Nigeria there are still challenges in many communities. There is need for you to make more investments to ensure that the entire country is connected," added Shittu.
He requested Globacom's support for technological hubs and connectivity centres government is building in several cities such as Ibadan, Katsina and later in Bayelsa, Plateau and other states.
"Sustainability is always the problem after the first period of free internet. Please see what you can do to support the establishment and sustainability of such hubs."
Head of the Globacom delegation, Mr Adewale Sangowawa, in his welcome remarks recalled how the company restored fading hopes in the telecom industry by introducing per second billing and crashing the cost of acquiring SIMs from N20,000 to as low as N100.
"According to the International Telecommunications Union, the revolution in the Nigerian telecoms industry is due principally to Globacom's push and the ingenuity of government to deregulate the telecoms sector. Nigeria today boasts of over 100% teledensity, and over 150m active telephone lines," he said.
"Beyond the statistics, however, is the massive contribution this proudly Nigerian network with global footprints has made in transforming social, educational and business life in the country. From multimedia messaging service to mobile internet, mobile banking, tele-conferencing, vehicle tracking, e-learning and other innovations, Globacom has ensured that Nigerians enjoy the benefits of technological advances available elsewhere around the world by pioneering the introduction of such services in the country," Sangowawa added.