As Nigerian multinational telecommunications company, Globacom, clocks 19 on August 29, 2022, popular opinion remains that it is the network of choice for millions who ordinarily would not have had access to a mobile phone.
To fully understand what the company has done in 19 years, it is important to remember what the situation was like before it began operation.
GSM took off in Nigeria in 2001 with two foreign companies as early starters.
Owning a mobile phone in those days was, however, a bittersweet experience for subscribers who paid premium prices to be connected.
With SIM cards selling for above N20,000, subscribing to either of the two networks was a luxury many could not afford.
There was also the challenge of making calls at N50 per minute.
Those were not the only obstacles in the early days as some subscribers even had to pay to activate caller ID on their SIM cards.
Although caller ID became free after a while, the cost of making a phone call remained prohibitive at N50 per minute.
Appeals that subscribers should pay per second were met with arguments by operators that the technology to do so was not readily available.
Stuck with unyielding operators, Nigerians made calls with a mental stopwatch. People stared at their watches as they made calls, knowing that an extra second would attract an additional N50.
It did not matter if a call got terminated because of network failure, GSM operators insisted on charging N50 per second.
That was the situation when Dr Mike Adenuga launched Globacom with the slogan “Glo with Pride” two years after MTN and Econet which now operates as Airtel.
The company’s introduction of per-second billing was the miracle millions of Nigerians had been waiting for.
Suddenly, what was deemed impossible became possible and millions of Nigerians were handed a gift that kept giving.
The cost of acquiring a SIM card also went down significantly with the average cost of a GSM line now N100.
With affordable SIM cards and per-second billing, subscribers were empowered to connect for personal and business purposes.
Glo did not only crash the cost of owning and operating a mobile phone, it opened the door to an unlimited world of opportunities.
The disruption caused by the affordable pricing of its services was a smart marketing move by Glo which gave it an edge over those who came before it.
Beyond that, it was a bold statement by a truly Nigerian brand invested in the African continent and beyond.
Adenuga’s Glo is the first network in Nigeria to launch the 2.5G GPRS technology thus enabling multimedia convergence. It is also the first company to launch nationwide 4G/LTE technology in Nigeria and also pioneered Blackberry services which supported push-button email, mobile telephone, text messaging, web browsing and other wireless information services.
Other innovations credited to Glo within the telecoms space include multimedia messaging services (MMS) mobile banking, mobile internet service, vehicle tracking, prepaid roaming and mobile money agent network
Glo also launched 3G Plus which in addition to giving customers high-speed mobile internet access, allows them to do video calls and video streaming on their 3G mobile handset.
The company was also the first to build an international sub-marine cable singlehandedly, which addressed Africa’s bandwidth requirement by providing enough capacity for the region.
Telecommunications is not the only sector that has benefitted immensely from Glo in its 19 years of operation.
Adenuga put down an early marker when Globacom signed on a number of entertainers as ambassadors to promote its message.
Beginning with the likes of Daddy Showkey, Lagbaja and King Sunny Ade, Glo has invested in celebrities like Patience Ozokwo, Odunlade Adekola, Funke Akindele, Ini Edo, Davido, Teni, Simi, Burna Boy, Olamide, D’Banj, M.I, Wande Coal, Ego Ogbaro, Sammie Okposo and Sani Danja. Madam Kofo, Chika Okpala, Nelly Uchendu, Bright Chimezie, Bimbo Oloyede, Don Jazzy, Segun Odegbami, Anthony Joshua, Basketmouth, Bovi, Gordons, AY and Helen Paul.
Glo Battle of the Year Nigeria, a dance reality show streamed on GloTV, the company’s mobile app, had its grand finale in Lagos on April 30, 2022 with winners walking away with multi-million naira cash and other prizes.
Before then, there had been projects like Glo Naija Sings, Dance with Peter, Glo X-factor, Glo Laftafest, Glo Campus Storm and Glo Music Fiesta.
In the area of sports, Glo has sponsored the Nigerian Professional Football League, the Super Eagles, Nigeria’s Supporters Club, Lagos International Half Marathon, Glo-CAF Awards and Glo Soccer Academy.
The company is also a foremost corporate supporter of Nigerian arts and culture with the sponsorship of the Ojude Oba, Lisabi and Ofala festivals among others.
For its trade partners, Globacom hosted the 2022 Dealers Appreciation Gala Dinner on Friday, April 8 with the announcement of over N750million worth of rewards in appreciation of their past support.
For his contributions to Nigeria and its economy, Globacom chairman, Otunba Mike Adenuga was awarded the National Honour of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2012.
President Muhammadu Buhari celebrated Adenuga on his 69th birthday on April 29, 2022 for his “nationalistic and patriotic position of always putting Nigeria first in his investment options.”
In July 2018, President, Emmanuel Macron of France conferred France’s highest national honour of Commander of the Legion of Honour on Adenuga, describing him as “a true role model for Africa who has contributed to the advancement and betterment of humanity.
That came two years after former Ghanaian President John Mahama honoured Adenuga with Ghana’s highest national honours for his philanthropic pursuits in the county.
With over 55 million subscribers in Nigeria, Globacom is also among the biggest players in Ghana and Benin Republic with footprints in Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia and Senegal.
Globacom was recently honoured as the largest and most reliable mobile 4G LTE network at the 13th edition of the annual Beacon of ICT Awards for its consistency in value and pricing.
Editor-in-Chief of Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, organisers of the awards, Ken Nwogbo, said the company came first in an online vote for its friendly data plans, the Berekete offer, Glo Café and other value-added services.
Nineteen years after the first call was made on its network, Globacom continues to glo with unlimited pride per second.