Nigerian telecoms firm Mobitel has launched WiMAX services in Lagos aimed at SMEs and high-end users, local daily Vanguard reports. A total of USD70 million has so far been invested in the network, which currently provides 40% coverage of Lagos. A further USD350 million has been earmarked for the expansion of the WiMAX infrastructure to eleven cities in 2011, and other parts of the country by the end of 2012. ‘We are keen on tackling – most importantly – the issue of poor quality of service and that is why we are investing much in technology,’ commented Johnson Salako, CEO at Mobitel, adding: ‘We are very familiar with the migration of subscribers from network to network depending on the quality of service. We believe that if we offer the right services, we shall change the face of telecommunications in Nigeria.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Mobitel emerged as one of three winners of a 20MHz slot in the 2.3GHz frequency band in May 2009. However, the company did not receive its licence until nearly a year later, after the National Communications Commission (NCC) received a number of complaints about how the licensing was conducted, and just two weeks after the concessions were awarded the 2.3GHz licensing was cancelled. Having already awarded a network rollout contract to Alvarion, Mobitel launched a legal challenge against the government’s decision and in March 2010 a Federal High Court in Abuja voided the cancellation of the licensing of WiMAX spectrum and also ordered the NCC to immediately release a licence to Mobitel.