Smile To Leverage On USPF For Rural LTE Access
…Unveils New Voice Package At 8kobo/per second
Smile communications Limited, says it plans on latching on the provisions of the Universal Access Provision Fund (USPF) to extend its network to remote parts of the country.
Speaking at the double unveiling of the company’s new managing director and a new voice call service that rides of its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) platform to offer the lowest call rate in the country, the Chief Technical Officer, Mr. Sudnir Chopra disclosed that Smile Communication has plans to increase the number of base station across the country.
The new Managing Director, Mr. Godfrey Efeurhobo, said that the need to tap into the provisions of the USPF, a vehicle of the federal government, is hinged on the company’s objective of taking Broadband to rural and underserved areas in Nigeria.
The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria to facilitate the achievement of national policy goals for universal access and universal service to information and communication technologies (ICTs) in rural, un-served and under-served areas in Nigeria. The Fund is being managed to facilitate the widest possible access to affordable telecommunications services for greater social equity and inclusion for the people of Nigeria.
The leverage will help the company, which launched its LTE services in Nigeria in 2013, to extend its services in other parts of the country. Smile is currently operational in eight cities and has plans to increase its base stations across the country through the USPF aid before the end of the year.
The recent addition to the Smile network, SmileVoice, is an industry first with successful test calls made in October 2015 and subsequent the commercial launch in March 2016.
The SmileVoice uses LTE Data for voice calls across networks at 8 kobo per second billing. The local billing is also applicable to customers who are roaming from any part of the world.
Mr. Efeurhobo says with the new service, Smile is trying to differentiate itself through innovation and creativity. “On the Smile network now, whether with our SmileVoice or a Voice-over LTE (VoLTE) compatible phone, you can make calls to any network in Nigeria at local rate which gets as low as 8kobo per second on the SmileVoice only bundle plan. This is unprecedented. With the SmileVoice App, connected to any data network anywhere in the world, you can make calls to any network in Nigeria at the same rate.”
According to the Group Head, Communications and Marketing, Nicolene Van Zyl, SmileData plan gives all customers data, voice and SMS, therefore with SmileVoice customers can call anyone, on any number, anywhere in Nigeria and the world. “Use a VoLTE handset with your Smile SIM card or download our FREE SmileVoice App on your mobile today and enjoy SuperClear calls at 8k/sec that connect the first time.”
SmileVoice plan is available at N1000 with 200 minutes at 8k/sec – again another industry first.
Van Zyl enumerated the key advantages of the SmileVoice service to include SuperFast Internet access on the go; Convenience; Quality of calls and data transmission; and pocket-friendly cost.
While addressing a misconception on the services of Smile Communications, the managing Director observed that the superiority of the Smile data network makes people think that the company is just an internet service provider (ISP). He noted that: “Smile is Nigeria’s premier 4G LTE operator; a full best-in-class communications company. We are today where every other communications company would like to be.”