Celtel Nigeria has inaugurated a new switch in Kaduna, hot on the heels of the one commissioned in Abuja last weekend, bringing the cellco’s total number of switches to 17 nationwide and giving it a capacity of 20 million subscribers. CEO Bayo Ligali said the addition of the switch ‘clearly represents a timely response to the yearnings of telecommunications consumers for concrete action towards a resolution of the Quality of Service (QoS) challenges in the industry.’ Less than a fortnight ago, Celtel was fined almost NGN2 billion (USD17.36 million) by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to meet its monthly performance targets in January. The regulator ordered Celtel (and rival MTN) to credit every subscriber with NGN175 of airtime.
Ligali also gave details of how the USD1 billion of investment recently promised for 2008 would be spent. The cellco wants to significantly expand coverage, enhance capacity and improve QoS in 2008. Projects designed to achieve these aims include; building 4,000km of fibre-optic transmission backbone; deploying an additional 2,000km of microwave transmission backbone (supplementing the existing 3,000km); a nationwide ‘generator swap-out and dualisation’ programme; and installing a further 1,000 base transmitter stations (BTS), taking the total to 5,100. These measures, said Ligali, would ‘enhance the integrity and robustness of the network in the coming months and ultimately result in world class quality of service.’