The growth being recorded in the Telecoms industry in Africa and Nigeria in particular, within the short period mobile communication started is tremendous. Nigerian telecommunication is the largest and the fastest growing in Africa and can compete favorably globally in terms of growth rate. With unified licensing in place, service providers have the capability to diversify there services.
Need for a corresponding growth in Mobile Technology
As the rapid growth in the sector has been established, there has to be a corresponding growth in the technology which will drive it. Whether the technology in place now is sufficient is the issue one has to look into, but there is every need for us to advance and improve on what we have on the ground now, the quality of service being offered to consumers has to be high and the pricing right.
With the 2nd generation (2G) technology already in use, it enables data to be transferred only at the rate of 14.4kbps, with voice and SMS transmitted at the same speed. we also have seen the use of GPRS(general packet radio service)making it possible for mobile devices to be connected permanently to networks at the speed of a dial -up internet access. Which makes it possible to access the internet with our mobile phones and also deliver multimedia messaging (MMS).This service is fast gaining grounds here. It has also changed the way GSM phones are used today.
The future is Multimedia
The technology evolving today is such that will allow full multimedia experiences, allowing users to download videos, make video calls, download contents from the web, picture messaging, make voice calls, send SMS,and other services already in use. All these have to be transmitted at a greater speed than what we have now. The technology is the much hyped 3rd generation mobile technology (3G).This allows data transmission at a greater speed of say 2mbps.
Are we there yet?
With what I observe globally, 3G technology is a developmental process which needs not be rushed, this service became widely in use in Europe in 2004 and I still don’t think it has been fully deployed there. I find it hard to come to terms with what some service providers here say, that they already have their networks running on a 3G. I see it as not being true because the customers should experience at least improved quality of service and increased speed of basic applications such as web browsing, content download, email etc in what they offer, this to me is the initial stage of 3G.You can agreed with me that such services are not yet in place, so why the hype about it. Service providers should consider these factors; quality of service provided, range of the service, pricing, and quality of coverage in a 3G network. The right infrastructure has to be in place too.
3G when fully in place will surely change the way we use our GSM phones and improve our mobile lifestyle in Nigeria. Having said all that, the future is really bright and promising for us. With huge investments being made in the sector, 2007 might be the beginning of this evolution for us. The future of mobile communication is 3G!