They said telephones were for the rich and we believed them.
That was probably why when the GSM era dawned, SIM cards were sold for more than the minimum wage and so priced far above the reach of the ordinary Nigerian.
But it took the coming of a proudly Nigerian company, one whose avowed brand PURPOSE was to prioritise PEOPLE over PROFIT to change the sorry state of affairs.
The moment Glo threw its hat into the ring, it crashed the price of SIM cards and made sure that the ordinary Nigerian, whether in Lagos or Lafia, Benin or Bauchi could gain access to the technological marvel that was GSM.
They said it could not be done! That the technology did not exist and the ecosystem was not ripe for it.
But Globacom challenged those false assumptions, literally tore down made-up dogma and defied naysayers as it pioneered per second billing in a disruptive move that hundreds of years from now will be remembered as the true marker of what is described as Nigeria’s telecom revolution.
It was ground breaking and liberating and with Glo’s introduction of low priced handsets, the ordinary Joe and Janet from Calabar to Kano, Ilorin to Ile ife was suddenly able to enjoy what the rich were enjoying – instant connection with loved ones across miles and kilometers enabled only by a handset with an affordable SIM card and talk billed by the second.
With their own phones in their hands, the ordinary Nigerian man and woman on the street who needed to make telephone calls no longer had to join a long queue at NITEL. It was finally good bye to what the Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka once described as “public hide and speak.”
Globacom had done what “they” said was impossible and by so doing empowered the poor and ordinary Nigerians to enjoy what someone had once said was the exclusive preserve of the rich. Globacom made them “glo with pride” as they “ruled their world” by unleashing their “unlimited” potentials.
And this has been evident in almost every sector.
In sports, Globacom is the unassailable champion when it comes to supporting and promoting football in Nigeria and outside. A quick roll call will include CAF awards, Nigerian National teams, Supporters Club, support for Nigerian and Ghanaian leagues, promotion of the Glo Soccer Academy as well as EPL sponsorship.
But it is not only sports. Glo’s footprints can be seen clearly in the arena of culture and entertainment. Highlights remain “An evening with Wole Soyinka” as well the Wole Soyinka Prize and the cultural fiestas; Ojude Oba, Lisabi and Ofala festivals.
Globacom remains one of the biggest supporter of Nigeria’s creative industries. It led the way in the use of celebrities from the world’s of music, stage and screen as well as comedy as brand ambassadors and models. And in doing so Glo did not wait to jump on trending stars, it embraced old and new, rehabilitating and supporting aging and fading stars of screen and entertainment as well as superstars like Sunny Ade, Daddy Showkey Dbanj, M.I, PSquare, Basket mouth, Omawumi, Chioma Akpotha, Rita Dominic, Gordons while also giving a leg up to new talents like Teni and Simi as well as more recent ones like skit makers Broda Shaggi and Nosa Rex to name a few.
Its support for the creative industry is both individual and institutional as evident from the prosecution of initiatives targeted at youth empowerment/development of Nollywood as well as support for Nigerian music talents through the sponsorship of entertainment shows such as Glo Battle of the Year Nigeria, Rock ‘n’ Rule, Glo Naija Sings, Laffta Fest and the world’s number one music singing talent reality TV show, X Factor, which berthed in Africa for the first time in 2013, as well as Slide and Bounce concert, an entertainment tour which went round all the Geo-political zones of the country.
Away from the creative industries, Globacom has empowered Nigerians by creating jobs and helping entrepreneurs find their footing through provision of tailor-made business solutions for SMEs who are the engine room of growth in developing economies like Nigeria.
A consideration of Globacom’s job creation bonafidess will highlight the company as probably the only Mobile Network Operator still running its own towers and providing direct and indirect employment to over 10,000 Nigerians. The company has also created thousands of employment opportunities in the Niger Delta and other states through Call Centre Operators with many transforming into full-fledged business centres.
In a technologically driven world hungry for data and superfast connectivity, Globacom cognizant of the fact that Africa is bandwidth poor and committed to helping Nigeria achieve its bandwidth penetration target of 70% by 2025 single handedly financed a 9,800 kilometer sub-marine cable as its contribution to accelerating Africa’s march to digitalization through sufficient bandwidth (Glo 1) and avant-garde connectivity solutions.
Pan-Nigerian in its coverage with millions of subscribers across the states, Globacom has launched its payment service bank in what appears an early birthday present. MoneyMaster PSB, the company says, will revolutionise and disrupt the payment service bank ecosystem like Globacom did many years ago in telecoms with exciting services and unique offerings.
19 years later, the challenger brand has matured and become a dominant force in the ecosystem with continental footprints and global aspirations.
And despite the passage of the years and the vagaries of time, Globacom has remained true to its purpose of putting the people first by giving them voice and data connectivity which are success enablers in our technologically driven world.
19 Gbosas for the Grandmaster of Data!!!
*Toni Kan is a staff of Globacom