Nigeria’s second-largest operator Globacom yesterday made a surprise move into LTE, launching services for “demanding corporate customers and high data users.” In a statement, group chief operating officer Mohamed Jameel said that although Globacom’s users could “already browse the internet or send e-mails using HSPA-enabled systems and send or receive video or music using G phones,” the experience with LTE would be “even better… It will further enhance more demanding applications like interactive TV, mobile video blogging, advanced games or professional services, enabling more Nigerians to be on top of their game.” Specific details of the launch were not revealed.
Globacom’s launch would appear to make it the first commercial LTE operator in Africa. Last June South Africa’s Vodacom trialed the technology, while Kenya’s Safaricom trialed LTE in October 2010. According to a recent Wireless Intelligence report, Africa is expected to be the world’s slowest region to move to LTE, accounting for only 1 percent of the global LTE market base by 2015. To date Europe’s TeliaSonera, US operator Verizon Wireless and Japan’s NTT Docomo have been the industry’s highest-profile LTE supporters.