By Olubunmi Adeniyi
Lagos. July 21, 2012: Leveraging the broadband evolution in Nigeria, young entrepreneurs in the ICT space are looking to bridging the digital divide and taking advantage of the growing internet service marketplace.
Realizing that the basic standard for internet technology is Wi-Fi, Oxygen Broadband Network, an innovative start-up company is adopting Wi-Fi technology to provide internet connections for Ikeja Computer village and environs of the nation’s densely populated market cluster for technology products and services in Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital.
The company which launched its Wi-Fi service last month says within just one kilometre radius of Computer Village it has acquired over 6,000 unique users on its network.
Chief Executive Officer, Oxygen, Wande Adalemo told Technology Times that Oxygen is partnering with Main One Cable Company, the first private submarine cable company in Nigeria and open access wholesale bandwidth provider, to provide flexible and cost-effective Wi-Fi connection and make convergence of various classes of service achievable.
Also taking advantage of Wi-Fi technology that has proved largely successful in providing cheap wireless internet access within close proximity to the access point, Adalemo discloses that the company is having DS3 25 Meg connection with Main One and hoping to increase it to an STM-1 capacity as the network expands.
“It took us 12 years to build this network because we want to give Nigerians the best. Oxygen is a network that we hope will provide metro Wi-Fi networks across the major streets in Lagos over the next couple of years and we intend to change the face of broadband in Nigeria,” he adds.
At the moment Oxygen covers the entire Computer Village from Simbiat Abiola way from the North, to Kodesoh South and East and up to the Airport Road, Mobolaji Bank Anthony North East and North West, Adalemo says.
“We have over 6,000 different unique users already. We hope that we will be able to get over 10,000 subscribers on our network and then move in to another market clusters that we have around Lagos.”
According to him, the demand for traditional broadband connections is surpassing conservative forecasts while adding that the wireless market is even more exciting due to the significantly lower costs needed in the first private submarine cable company in Nigeria and open access wholesale provider, infrastructure delivery.
“Our network is incredibly cost-saving and we provide convenience for our customers. There are four billion Wi-Fi devices worldwide which means that virtually every smart phone, laptop and other technology gadget has a Wi-Fi chipset and so you don’t need to buy a modem before you connect through the network,” he adds noting that with Wi-Fi, users can access broadband internet connections with high data transfer rate.
“Here at the Computer village we do downloads at up to 2 megabits per second and that is the fastest you have on user-to-user basis here. We are offering Nigerians speed, affordable, convenience and reliable service.”
The Oxygen network is built to handle over a thousand devices and having 4 gigabits per second capacity through-put to offer coverage across the entire Computer Village market cluster.
He says the network is embedded with links that makes it easier for users to connect to the internet as well as the free mapping service that allows users to view locations on the web.
On the Oxygen data service plan, Adalemo explains that “you can decide to get something done in one hour, there is a one hour plan for you or get something done in the next one week, there is one week plan for you or I’m monthly users, I need to save money upfront for the whole month, there is a monthly plan for you.”
According to him, Oxygen offers N200 for the two-hour plan with 24 hours validity; N500 for seven-hour plan with validity of seven days; N1,250 for 25 hours with a validity of 10 days; N4,500 for 100 hours with 30-day validity and N10,000 for 24/7 access.
Oxygen is offering an unlimited download limit on all these plans, “which is another advantage for Nigerians”, he explains.
According to the Oxygen chief, the company currently runs on solar panels making it a green company that totally depends on alternative energy sources to make the environment greener and make people’s life cleaner.
On the market projection, Adalemo says the company’s plan is to focus more on market cluster coverage, high density area, shopping malls and clusters of markets where there is high density of users.
According to him, “that’s our target because we have also realized that 3G networks are overloaded and over-burdened. We are also saying that we can do an offload on WiFi-network which saves people from a lot of the hassles that they have now with the data subscribers.”
For Adalemo, the Oxygen strategy is clear as, “we are also planning the 3G offloading as we move and expand. So we are looking at concentration of market where you have heavy loads of data.”