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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Starcomms to roll out in South-East

Remmy Nweke

ONE of the first-four telecommunications companies in the country to get its Unified License, Starcomms Limited, has advanced plans to roll out in four cities including three in the south-east.

Chief executive, Starcomms, Mr. Maher Qubain disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos at the on-going West African International Telecommunication Exhibition (W.AfriTel-06) in Lagos.

He said that Starcomms is warming up to roll out services in Aba in Abia, Onitsha in Anambra State, Asaba in Delta State and Ibadan in Oyo State.

These cities, Mr. Qubain said would commence operation with about 50 base stations each.
All these came as the shareholders have approved $20 million for the expansion plans the telco is building in the four states.

He stressed that Starcomms is committed to telecommunications development and penetration in the country, just as it is ready for the market.

In furtherance to this, he said, Starcomms has just cleared some telecommunication equipment in excess of $30 million for Lagos expansion project.

As well, the telco is warming up for Maiduguri, even as its Evolution Data Only (EV-DO) was officially launched Tuesday.

According to him, the Unified License came with high responsibility and in order to show the seriousness of his firm, the expansion to the south-east has become absolutely necessary.

Mr. Qubain also revealed that about $100 million facility is being facilitated by undisclosed Nigerian banks to support the telco’s expansion project.

ITRealms Online recalls that on Saturday, May 13, this year, the nation’s regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced the award of the first batch of Unified Licenses to Starcomms Limited, Multi-Links Telecommunications Limited, Prest Cable & Satellite TV Systems Limited, and Intercellular Nigeria Plc.

According to the Head, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Dave Imoko, the award came after evaluation of their applications which were assessed to have met the approved criteria, including having an existing and operating network infrastructure, a customer base of at least 10,000 connected subscribers or justifiable evidence of financial capability for substantial network rollout.

Additionally, he explained that the awardees were up-to-date on submission of annual audited accounts, on payment of company tax, with equipment type approval and up-to-date in settlement of interconnection obligations.

NCC said, this license was granted to these companies to provide service on a non-exclusive basis in the designated license area and other operators or prospective operators can also be granted license in the same license area.

“Provision of services under the new Unified Licensing regime will be subject to the geographical limitations contained in the existing license. However, expansion to other regions can be allowed subject to availability of spectrum,” he noted.

At the expiration of the exclusivity period granted the digital mobile operators in February this year, a Unified Licensing regime adopted by the regulator after wide consultations with stakeholders commenced.

The new regime is anticipated to open up the telecoms market for players who are in a position to offer multiple services without being limited to either fixed or mobile services.

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1 comment:

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