MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
Smile Nigeria, acclaimed as the leading second-tier telecom operator in Nigeria, has a history that belies its age and spread. Always depolying cutting edge technology, Smile has often ascended heights which other industry players not only marvel at but always strive to emulate and then play catch-up.
The company has recorded a string of Firsts not the least its 4G LTE pioneer status in West Africa and its enviable reecord as the first to launch and indeed introduce VoLTE into the Nigeria market.
The company endeavours to stand apart in all things: big or small. Even when the event is as inncucous as its recent entry into Kano, the commericial hub of Northen Nigeria, the pace setting streak of Smile Communications Nigeria Limited will always be evident.
For Smile Nigeria, its raison d’être has always been to revolutionise the way Nigerians utilise broadband services. This broad-based philosophy gave vent to the company’s “can-do” payoff line “Now You Can” that speaks to enabling Nigerians to maximize the gains of the internet and the limitless possibilities that access to the Smile network offers.
Setting forth at dawn, Smile launched the first 4G LTE network in West Africa, in Ibadan, Nigeria to be precise, in 2013, thereby revolutionising the way Nigerians access the internet.
Smile deployed the 4G LTE radio network in partnership with Ericsson, which enabled it to provide the most advanced telecommunications technologies and standards available anywhere in the world using the 4G LTE network technology.
Heralding this pioneering effort, Smile had asserted: “Internet speed is one thing that was a challenge for users in the country, and the first true 4G LTE network has arrived,” Smile’s SuperFast data speed took many customers by surprise.
The experience was so much faster and better than anything Nigerians were used to. Live television streams without delay, high-definition YouTube videos load with no buffering, websites were available almost instantly and downloads happened in a blink of an eye. This was truly revolutionary and the reassuring fact is that Smile continues to offer the fastest internet services to its customers.
If anything, Smile moved on to become the first in Nigeria to launch Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) in 2016 on its 4G LTE network. 4G VoLTE is a voice technology for high-definition (HD) voice and video communications over a 4G LTE network.
Compared to traditional 2G and 3G networks, VoLTE enables consumers to benefit from superior quality voice, video and data services on a single device and a single data plan. It gives customers the choice of using their data for any service they want including voice and video, that allows for a faster connection of traditional calls and improves call quality, voice clarity and call reliability.
Another first from the stable of Smile Nigeria is the SmileVoice App launched in March, 2016. With the SmileVoice App customers experience SuperClear voice, with data and voice over LTE on their mobile phones. Calls can be made to any number in the world. Users can also stay in touch with friends and family on the Smile network that have SmileVoice numbers, absolutely FREE and enjoy unlimited FREE Smile-to-Smile calls no matter where they are.
The SmileVoice App can be downloaded from the Play Store or App store.
Giving more impetus to its innovative streak, Smile Nigeria pioneered 4G roaming with SmileKonnect in partnership with Nuu Mobile. Smile was the first operator in Africa to launch SmileKonnect in April, 2019. This service enables International 4G data roaming and empowers consumers to automatically access data services to send and receive e-mails, download and send business documents and much more,where ever they are.
Smile customers travelling to 85 countries internationally using the SmileKonnect device can roam on 4G data at affordable roaming rates. Nuu Mobile customers travelling into Nigeria from any country are also able to roam on Smile’s network.
With innovation at its core, Smile launched eSIM in Nigeria in December, 2019. The Smile eSIM is a downloadable application, and when activated the consumer can enjoy 10 FREE minutes local calls, unlimited on-net calls and SMSs.
The customers can also savour zero roaming charges, FREE on-net audio and video calls and the lowest call rates to any network. The service comes with varying voice plan options that will suit every taste.
Smile Nigeria quenched the thirst of its customers for unlimited internet with the launch of Unlimited plans in 2016. Unlimited Platinum which offers unlimited internet with no data limit was launched in March 2020. The appropriateness of UnlimitedPlatinum for all data consumers, especially heavy data users, swayed the competition in the Nigerian data market to its side. True to its name, customers who subscribe to the Smile UnlimitedPlatinum, will for a period of one month, have the luxury of unlimited downloads of everything desirable; as far as their imagination can take them.
Appreciative of the desire of its customers to be positively different, Smile Nigeria also introduced the Smile VoTLE smartphone.
This first of its kind saw Smile introducing the first entry-level, dual-SIM, Voice Over 4G LTE-enable smartphone. The smartphone gives customers quick and easy access to the best quality 4G LTE network in Nigeria, at a more affordable rate.
The SmileVoLTE dual SIM smartphone, which is Google approved and manufactured in partnership with Mediatek, comes pre-loaded with applications including the SmileVoice App, WhatsApp, twitter, skype, Instagram, YouTube, music and FM radio and includes innovative features like fingerprint and face recognition for smartphone private access and security. The SmileVoLTE dual –SIM smartphone, with the same chipset used in other leading smartphone brands, comes equipped with 1.3 Ghz Dual core, VoLTE-enabled, 5MP front camera, 8MP back camera, 2950mAH battery, 5.45” HD touchscreen, 2GB RAM and 16GB ROM. Features of the SmileVoLTE smartphone also offers HD voice quality, WiFi hot spot, touchscreen and Android iOS, and comes with a complimentary phone case in the box.
These many firsts of Smile affirm the company’s single transformative objective of using the best and most innovative technologies to offer its customers fast, reliable, high quality, easy-to-use and affordable communication services. Smile’s vision and mission is to be the broadband provider of choice in all its markets and enable its customers to benefit fully from the Internet world for data, voice and SMS.
About Smile Communications
”Founded in 2007 and incorporated in Mauritius, Smile is a pan-African telecommunications group with operations in Nigeria (Smile Communications Nigeria), Tanzania (Smile Communications Tanzania), Uganda (Smile Communications Uganda) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Smile Communications DRC) and has an associate company in South Africa.
In 2012, the company launched Africa’s first 4G LTE commercial network in the 800MHz band (ITU “band 20”) in the East African market, starting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and then Kampala, Uganda. This was followed by the launch of West Africa’s first 4G LTE commercial networks, also in band 20, starting in Ibadan and then Lagos, Nigeria by Smile Communications Nigeria. Today, Smile Nigeria is in the key cities of Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Benin City, Kaduna, Onitsha and Asaba.