Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Celtel commits N116.5trn on QoS

Management of Global System for Mobile Operator, Celtel Nigeria has committed $1 billion (about N 116,505,000,000 trillion) for this year alone to improve the quality of service (QoS) on the network.

This is coming as the telco has invested in excess of $100 million on extensive private generator swapping and dualisation, which is on going nationwide on the network.

Managing Director, Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Bayo Ligali, made this disclosure in Lagos, adding that this is the second time the telco is voting $1 billion to improve network quality, having taken a similar step in year 2007.

“We are committing another $1b this year and we are optimistic that by the end of this year, the hue and cry over Quality of Service will almost disappear,” he said.

He also expressed optimism that based on the fact that other operators are also investing in network expansion, the result will be significant.

Although he lamented that some of these investments would have been unnecessary, if the first national carrier, the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) had provided the needed capacity as envisaged in every country, especially at inception of the liberalisation of the telecom market in the country.

“The huge investments in transmission capacity are distracting the operators from channelling their energies and resources into providing core GSM services,” he bemoaned.

In order to have network resilience, he said that Celtel is creating a right topology throughout the microwave and fire optic backbones to ensure dual routing for all traffic to counter fibre cuts and site outages.

“We’re building pools where capacity is shared allowing autonomous redundancy,” he said, noting that on-going addition of satellite hubs in all major capacity centres is to improve resilience and increased use of SAT-3.

According to him, the network reliability embarked upon by Celtel would bring to the fore the implementation of network Key Performance Indicator (KPI) automation to report and routinely intervene in quality impacting issues.

Celtel, he further revealed, has commenced outsourcing of monthly and quarterly network quality measurements and benchmarking so as to ensure comprehensive reporting tools and audits to proactively manage network quality.

Equally, Celtel has added leading edge monitoring and auditing tools with routine external audits to validate network quality and has invested massively on generator swap, dualisation and transformers installation programme.

This, he said, has been completed 100 per cent in Lagos and now being implemented nationwide, stressing that these new generators come with extended service interval, improved reliability and integrated anti-theft features.

Mr. Ligali added that it is important to note that the telco has embarked on a new national network-monitoring centre, which will be completed this year with world-class facilities to proactively monitor and intervene in network issues.

“Investment value approx $10m,” he declared.

Power generation, he said, is one major challenge militating immensely against the acceptable levels of quality of service. But instead of cursing the darkness, we have literally lighted a candle to help us provide our customers with efficient service.

“Here are few steps we have taken in addition to the extensive generator swap and dualisation valued at over $100m and is currently going on in the network,” he said.

Even as the telco has introduced a new model of generators designed specifically for the country, with extended service interval from 250 to 2000 hours, reduced fuel consumption by 20 per cent, in addition to integral self-destruct to counter theft, unique spare parts to limit serviceability and accurate fuel management and reporting.

In addition, he said that Celtel has deployed nationwide some Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) transformers by installing the remote fillable pre-pay meters, even as all sites have been equipped ready for PHCN availability.

Just as new power management system has been introduced in house to control sites’ power to reduce generator running time and automatically reports problems.

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